I started this year filled with hope and excitement about what lay ahead.  I was in a dead sprint down a new path and was anxious to see where it led.  It led to a cliff edge.  So I veered right down a new path to have the carpet pulled out from under me.  Started again and then again with different things and none of them seemed to fit.

I let the challenges and disappointments rule my thoughts and emotions for most of this year.  I am ending the year not knowing what lies ahead … and once again I am filled with hope and excitement about what lay ahead.  And it really fucking annoys me.

I am annoyed that this day, more than any other, signals a renewal of hope – I am annoyed because I am so afraid that disappointment lay ahead as well.  This year of challenges forced me to look deep inside to try to believe in the gifts that I had to give.  And looking back I find that my successes were not the ones I had hoped for – they were so much more.

So now I sit here realizing that my annoyance with this day – New Year’s Eve -is a bit misplaced.  My annoyance forced me to think about the things I was most proud of… I discovered that many of those moments came during what I considered my darkest times, my biggest failures and my saddest hours.

You see, I handled most of my disappointments with grace.  A grace I didn’t actually know I had.  In hard times professionally this year, I have taken the high road.  I mean, not to my friends.  To them I told the truth and was petty and angry.  But outwardly, I was gracious.

My sadness at the loss of an amazing friend turned into a beautiful tribute that helped others with their grief and loss.  My heartbreak at Kelly’s death helped me see that my writing isn’t about me or my stories.  It’s about painting a picture of how I see things because so many others see them the same way.  It’s about showing my pain, my fear, my ridiculousness, and my craziness to the world.  It helps me feel less alone and, I think, helps others know they aren’t alone either.

Taking a horrible job, giving it 110% of my effort, and failing at it – well, it humbled me.  But it also showed me that I know what I need and that I won’t settle for less than what I believe is good and right.  I learned that doing what is best for me is incredibly hard…. It is still hard, but it’s better than going against who I am as a person.

My year of freakish medical maladies… eardrum ruptures, kidney stones and all the other things that make me such a hot mess has shown me how I have taken my health for granted and that change isn’t best provided in those little orange prescription bottles.  Change will have to start with me… but the little orange bottles sure do help.

Mostly, right now, on the eve of a new year… I believe that anything is possible.  That tomorrow I get to make better mistakes.  I am reminded by the people around me that I have gifts to offer and goodness to give.  Two things I had forgotten about myself.

So tonight, cosmic void, as the clock turns, the ball drops and the calendar brings us a new year I am not hoping for a year without struggles or heartbreak.  I am hoping for a year of realizing my gifts.  I am hoping for a year of seeing gifts in others and telling them about it.  I am hoping that my circle of friends grows even larger and that friends new and old continue to challenge and support me.

Tonight, cosmic void, I am hoping for a winning football season in Austin and a big loss for Alabama.  Tonight, I am letting go.  Tonight, I am going to start 2012 filled with faith … in myself … and in the future.

Because I believe, that’s exactly what