Yes, it’s a little cliché, and a tad too trendy even not during the liminal time before New Year’s, but I also think it’s important to take stock of the year, reflect on what was good, and find places to reach for improvement. I’m not a remarkably superstitious person by nature, but there are a few that stick with me, and the way you set out into something new is one of those.
I don’t remember a whole lot of things from 2009 or 2010, if I’m honest. I was struggling with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, living in Korea where I felt isolated and broken, and it took a great toll on my family. Those growing pains still float up from memory today (and even things we don’t remember), but we’ve come a long way since.
I was born in 1980, so my life has always rounded neatly with the decades. My thirties were a period of tremendous growth and healing. I received my bipolar diagnosis, worked through the ups and downs of family life, endured deployments (some better than others), illness, recovery, and a whole lot of self-reflection.
I got a better sense of who I was, and not who people thought I was. I found a goal to reach for, a direction for my life. Not to get all gushy and gooey. I think a lot of people go through this in their thirties, especially after your roaring twenties. I’m hardly alone.
2019 has been the culmination of these things. I published a book! I saw a great short story published in a great spec-fic magazine. I cut a lot of negativity from my life, and decided to give more of myself to people who appreciated me, and to cut out those that hurt me. I’ve really discovered who my friends are, and I am confident in it for maybe the first time ever. That shouldn’t be a radical statement, but here we are. I also, after almost twenty-two years, graduated with my BA.
So, what’s next?
I don’t like resolutions. They seem too specific. Instead I want to focus on broader goals. In 2020 I want to publish the sequel to The Hole in the World, and see a short story to publication again, because each of these things feels like a challenge to improve my craft. I want to take gigs outside of the role of University student and prove to myself that I’m not just a good student, but a good professional. I want to explore my interest in puppetry. Most of all, I want to reconnect with the indigenous culture which was denied me when I was taken away from my family and tribe as a child, and incorporate it into the stories I write and share. My tribe offers online language courses, and I want to give some effort to it, which will not be easy, but what thing that is worth it is?
I sincerely hope that 2020 brings better things and much needed healing. Personally, professionally, and politically. As I creep up on forty, I realize that I’ve not missed the best of my life, but I’m finally starting to enjoy them. Hopefully you find a similar future waiting for you.
I’m done being soppy now. Back to my usual snark.