Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Eulogy for 2014

I've been a bad mood this holiday season.  This is not unusual.  There's something about Christmas and New Year's that brings out the Scrooge in me.  The only difference this year is that I didn't try to fight it.  
For example, when It's A Wonderful Life came on the TV this year, and the scene when Jimmy Stewart's character, thinking he'll soon be arrested and go to jail for bank fraud, asks his wife, "What did we have so many children for?"  I said back to the television, "Because you forgot to wear a condom all those times, dummy!"  
That's how I've been feeling this year.  
But the year is almost done.  Today's the last day.  I've been writing in my journal about my thoughts and feelings.  I started cataloguing the disappointments of the year.  The things still undone.  The achievements not achieved.  As you might expect, this didn't help my mood. 
But then, I thought to myself how 2014 was dying.  Like a terminal patient, it was gasping its last.  By the end of the day it would expire.  This train of thought, which came from the dark tunnel my mood has been taking me this year, gave me the idea that, when someone dies and it's time to have a funeral, one ought to eulogize it.  
And a eulogy is filled with good things.  Sometimes they are lies we wish were true, but good things that at least can be pointed to in a person's life.  
So, this, my last blog entry for 2014, is a eulogy to the year that was.  
2014 brought me my second short-story sale.  A very good sale, to Analog magazine.  A sale which makes me eligible for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as a full member.  This was how I wanted to become eligible to the organization.  No associate membership step for me.
Thank you, 2014.  I appreciate that.  
And the money I got from that sale went to pay for my trip to England and Wales this summer.  Three weeks.  The longest vacation I've had as a working adult.  I got to see Big Ben for real.  I got to sit in the same pub, in the same room, maybe even at the same table, where J.R.R. Tolkien first read The Hobbit to his friend C.S. Lewis.  I got to see the door that inspired Lewis Carroll to write about a rabbit that was late.  I stood in ruins that were old when my country was born.  I got to down into a mine with the men who used to dig coal there.  And i got to drink hard apple cider from the tap at every pub  I visited.  
That was good of you, 2014.  Thanks for all that stuff.
And the United Kingdom is now the fifth foreign country I've visited.  The first on the opposite side of the Atlantic.  When I was a kid I used to think visiting foreign countries was something wealthy, super-cultured, special people did.  I never thought I'd cross a border to some place else (Mexico and Canada not really counting because, well...  They're Mexico and Canada, right?).  Much less the ocean.  
More importantly, I expect to do it again.  Maybe Finland in a couple of years, with a tour of the Baltic countries.  Certainly Japan again, as soon as I can make that happen.  Three more times at least.  New Zealand.  Australia again.  Who knows.  It is the EXPECTATION that I will see more of the world that 2014 brought me.  England was a demarcation line.  I'm a world traveller now.  
And speaking of foreign things, I started reading a book in another language in 2014.  And, more recently, I posted a notice on a message board in a foreign language, reading the terms of agreement, responding to the replies I got from it, all without using the language I was raised in. 
Pretty cool.  
I bought a new car.  I'm not so happy about the car in and of itself, but I'm very happy that I budgeted myself so I could afford the payments for the new car.  It fits snugly in my budget, but it does fit.  
I got to see my family at Thanksgiving.  All but my brother, who lives overseas.  There will come a year when I won't be able to say that, but 2014 wasn't that year.  That was good.  
I came the conclusion that I'm secure at work.  That is a tenuous thing.  My nature is to assume that I'm on the verge of losing my job and end up on the street, sleeping behind dumpsters.  But this year brought me signs that this is not that big of a worry.  Or, that there are other, bigger worries to contend with.  
Hey, I'm trying my best to be positive, OK?  Cut me some slack.  
The most uplifting moment for me this holiday season was writing in my journal my goals and expectations for next year.  That will be the subject for another blog, but the basis of those expectations were either planted or kept alive in 2014.  Some of them are recycled from previous years (I still want to increase my rate of publication.  I still want to get my novel published, things like that).  But the fact that these goals are still alive in kicking means that 2014 helped me keep them alive.  The year gave me enough encouragement, enough support, to keep these things on my list of things to do, things to strive for, things to achieve.  
So, here's to you, 2014.  In your final hours.  Seeing your replacement, 2015, literally coming over the horizon.  For these things and others, I want to thank you.  You were the best of years.  But you did good.  I will do my best to remember you fondly as your siblings come at me, with their own collection of stuff, good and bad, one after the other.  
May you Rest in Peace.  
Happy New Year!


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