December 31, 2004

2004 in review

I can't do a Best Of roundup here; I haven't seen enough, read enough, or heard enough. Though I did love Paladin of Souls, the first half of Time Traveler's Wife and the first half of Love, Actually (saw it this year so it counts) and enjoyed Spiderman 2 and, um, a few other books and movies too, and am thoroughly addicted to Lost and Desperate Housewives and still sad that Sex and the City is no more. But I'm not going to give you my analysis of the year in pop culture and certainly not in politics (except: feh), so what's left? Me. My year.

Do you my reader care about the year's highlights as seen through one person's eyes, one person's life experience? This question, of course, comes down to a much more basic one: why read a personal blog? How universal is a person's life? The answer, I think, is that emotions are and specifics often aren't but that a tale well told can be especially satisfying if it's a true story. But a simple rundown of fact? Not so much, I think. The story there is between the lines, behind the facts.

A year is an odd construct anyway. Out with the old, in with the new, change the date marker and toot the horns. Just another second later, just a minute more, just an hour into the future and it's a new year. So what, right? But yes, we do define ourselves by the years we travel through. That was the year that was. 1973 was a mighty strange year for the child who was me. My parents split up, I was molested, my life changed. Oh, and Secretariat won the Triple Crown. 1991 was delicious but difficult for the young adult me, 1994 was dreadful. The whys are complicated and personal. (But this is a personal site, yes? Yes. But.) 2001 was pivotal, dark and terrible but also weighed down with great hope (Damian's autism diagnosis carried within it a prescription for growth, for example, and other events gave me a kick in the pants to switch from screenwriting to stories and novels).

So we do use years to define segments of time in our lives even though those swaths of months never exactly dovetail with the calendar. It nevertheless remains a useful frame. And so I'll use it today, the last day of 2004. I feel like it's a year the world has gone to shit or maybe just affirmed its general shittiness. But on the micro level, in my own life? Yes, good. Or rather, full of promise:

Damian is thriving in a regular kindergarten with the personnel there skeptical of his need for an aide (details on that soon). The fact that we FOUND a regular kindergarten that suits him and even nurtures him still amazes me. A school he likes. I mean, right there, those few sentences, they encompass and end months of sleepless nights and compulsive eating and general angst. Would he, would we, would it be okay? And it was and is and I hope will become ever more so.

Damian found drumming this autumn or maybe drumming found him; his teacher showed up on our doorstep and it's all good. And what a delight. And he learns and improves and also maybe learns how to handle discipline and how something that feels hard become easy after a while and then you move on to the next hard thing.

I finally finished my novel. Yes, oh yes, yes indeedy. And I even still like it. Honestly, I had no idea it would feel so good to write The End. Not an ounce of post-partum blues here. I just look at that pile of pages (549, to be exact) and I smile. The world is full of promise.

Then there's the promise of Toronto. Hope for the future. The election hit us like a steamroller grinding everything we care about into the muck, but maybe for us personally, it contained an answer instead of a wrenching question. We don't like LA, we didn't know how to escape. This may be our solution. A pleasant city, a livable city, an affordable city, a place we might find suitable. A potential new home. Escaping this purgatory of eternal sunshine, what a concept. Will it happen? Damned if I know. That's what promise is about, though. You don't know. Can't know. You just have to try and see.

Our house improves around us and because of us. We do it to raise the sale value, we're far more motivated as a result, but man is it nice to have a dishwasher. Man is it great to have pretty kitchen floors. Man is it a relief to sit in my tiny office with its walls striped salmon and cream rather than institutional green, and oh man was it wonderful to have central air this summer. We work for the promise of the future but in doing so we improve our lives in the present.

And that's the essence of my 2004. Few answers but some nice progress. And on we march.

Happy 2005, everyone!

Posted by Tamar at December 31, 2004 08:17 PM

Happy New Year, Tamar, to you and your beautiful family. If you move to Toronto, we will finally get to meet, as I am there several times a year.

Posted by: Melissa at December 31, 2004 09:20 PM