On my eighth birthday, I remember slogging ass out of bed and down to the kitchen for a bit of toast before beginning the day’s activities. A late riser as well, my father happened to be sitting at the counter as I toasted my bread.

Always one to poke fun at what a she-beast I am when I first wake up, my father boomed a loud, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, REBECCA! PUT ON SOME GODDAMNED PANTS!

Because I was eight, I rolled my eyes at him and grunted a monosyllabic “thanks” under my breath, hoping he’d shutthefuckup until I’d been awake for longer than 30 seconds.

“How’s it feel to be THE BIG EIGHT?” he twinkled, obviously enjoying my annoyance.

I thought about it while I gnawed on my toast. Did I feel any differently? Were things different today than they were last night when I went to bed? Have I developed boobs and gotten my first apartment? Did Vanilla Ice finally get all the fanmail I’d sent? Will he finally show up in his wicked ride to pick me up from school? Did I win the Nobel Prize in Awesomeness for sleeping?

No. I was, give or take the bleariness I tried desperately to wipe out of my eyes, the exact same person I was 12 hours before. I shook my head no and scuttled back upstairs to put on some pants.

The “goddamned” was implied.

I feel the same about New Year’s. I understand the need that some people feel to celebrate the ending of one year and the coming of the next the same way that I recognize that a monthly purge of my house makes me happy in the pants. I get it – it feels good to be rid of the baggage of the last year, or, erms, well, actual baggage.

If only it worked that way.

December 2012 was a dark, dark time for me. I don’t mean that as a pithy country song, I mean it was so damn dark I couldn’t tell my ass from my head. Days would pass before I’d speak to another person. I continued the job hunt that had consumed my life since July without any real hope I’d find something. Turns out, trying to eke out a career path after being out of work for so long isn’t as simple as throwing together a resume and watching the offer letters pile up on my desk as I sat back and evaluated which Fortune 500 company I’d opt to become president of. I’d been making ends meet by freelancing and selling off any of my possessions that had value, but my nerves were shot each month as I cobbled together enough money to keep the electricity on.

(PSA time!)

Hey kids! All of that bullshit your parents spewed in your general direction about learning to manage a household? Turns out – you kinda need to know it. And I’d made the cardinal mistake most married couples do – Dave and I had decided to divide and conquer. All of the things that he’d done for us? I never learned to do. And the converse.

I’d been managing for a few months, still sorta in that daze between what-fuck-just-happened? and this-is-my-fucking-life and once reality hit, I started to take stock of whether or not I actually needed to grace the earth with my presence. I’d try and come up with reasons that I should stick around for another year and usually came up short. Only reason I’m here typing this to you now, Pranksters, is because I knew that my kids needed me. And the thought that it would be days or weeks before anyone found me had my stomach heaving well before I’d realized that my cats would probably quite literally eat off part of my face before I was discovered as departed. No one wants to put that burden on another person.

I woke up January 1, 2013 and nothing had changed. Sure, I could’ve gone to bed and said, “Self, tomorrow, everything will be different! You won’t wake up in a jolt of anxiety like your no-no square had just been tasered! You’ll be gainfully employed! You’ll be happy! All because YOU resolved to do it!”

I’ve been around this planet long enough to know one divine truth: The Universe has far bigger things to worry about than my resolutions.

But things did begin to turn around – slowly. By February 1, I was gainfully employed in a job I really enjoyed. I couldn’t call myself happy, but I was too busy to notice the sad bits. The anxiety got worse before it got better. I quit that job and took another. And another.

And now I find myself gainfully employed at a job I love working downtown in the best city in the world (apologies, New York). I no longer wake with that squirming ball of anxiety rolling around my gut like the world’s nastiest bowling ball – most days. I’ve learned how to keep the electricity on and my phone bill paid – most months. I no longer worry about someone discovering my half-eaten body. While I’m not always bouncing off the walls with glee (which is, quite frankly, a good thing – it’d be more likely than not to get me institutionalized), I can say that I’m happy.

That can all change tomorrow. I may go into work and find that my job has been given to someone overseas or find that my office has been converted into fancy lofts in Lincoln Park. I may have to go without food or electricity for a spell. Depression may rear its ugly, lying head and tell me what a total piece of shit I am for thinking happiness could happen to someone like me.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings any more than the meteorologist on Fox News know what the weather will be like. Educated guesses. Life is a series of educated guesses.

Tonight, I can resolve to lose 395 pounds or wake up an heiress and still wake as, well, me – Your Aunt Becky. Life isn’t about empty promises or a guarantee of a happier tomorrow. Good shit happens to bad people. Bad shit happens to good people. Shit happens, usually on some idle Tuesday in the middle of the month when you least expect it. You can rage against it all you want, but I’d surmise that nailing Jello to the wall would be easier.

Instead, I will go to bed tonight knowing that while I may not know what will happen tomorrow, it’s another chance for me to make messes, get dirty, and have fun.

And that (NOT the Hokey Pokey) Pranksters, is what life is all about.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

28 Responses to Another Year Over

  • No Good says:

    BOOM!

  • Jill says:

    I have read/followed you off and on for about 3-4 yrs.
    I promise step by step, day by day it does get better, it does get easier. Those “feelings” will become memories giving the chance to sigh in relief and take another step even farther from them. I’ve been in that dark place and pulling for ya, you got this, so just dance through.

  • Karin says:

    Just keep dancing! That’s all any of us can do. When life throws a curveball, switch up the steps. *step ball change step ball change aaaannnnnd shuffle!*

  • Jolie says:

    Shit happens for sure. 2% of you is what happens to you. 98% is how you handle it. You, mah pantsless friend, are amazing! :)

  • Grace says:

    And if the day comes that your office has been turned into apartments for people with really fancy pants, you know that you can get on the train and come see me and I will cook delicious things for you.

  • Gunfighter says:

    Brava!

  • NL Bike Fail says:

    I love your voice and the guts you have to share. I nod my head and smile and laugh because you are obviously one helluva woman.

    I’ve been in that dark place. It’s terrifying. It sneaks up on you and won’t let you out of its grasp. Sitting in silence and burying my head seemed like a good fix. Bastard ex moved us to a new state for a job he accepted but waited two months to tell me about. He left me four months after the move for his work sidekick with much larger breasts. Kids had college rearing its head not too far down the road. I didn’t have a job because we had just moved. I had no friends. I had no support system. The fear of not having enough money to pay my bills and going months letting those bills go unpaid kept me awake each and every night. I feared my children would find out I’d failed them. The fear and shame I felt as I cashed in what little I had, going to pawn shops to sell baubles, taking a job cleaning other people’s toilets because it was a cash offer, were overwhelming.

    NY day 2014 marked the 10 year anniversary of when my ex told me he didn’t love me anymore after 20 years of marriage. NY day 2014 I walked from my home in The Hague, Netherlands, to watch the crazy Dutch jump into 45 degree water for the North Sea Swim. I was with my second husband who asked me just a month into our marriage (Nov. 2012) if I wanted to be an expat for a few years. My kids are both college graduates and amazing people who make me proud. I have freelance job offers from friends in the States and live a life I never saw coming. The darkness fades. Our kids survive. We grow stronger and healthier. As my mother says, “And this too shall pass.” I say, “My ex lives in Gallatin. I live in Europe.” Please share your triumphs.

  • stacey says:

    We woke up on New Years Day full of hope for the new year and a soaking wet carpet from a leaking pipe. Welcome to 2014, hope you have a few hundred dollars to spare! Which we don’t. Because shit happens when you least expect it. So welcome to 2014 and some cold ass concrete flooring in the bedroom because we can’t afford to replace the carpet right now. But we’re rolling with it. Concrete flooring is all the rage on home improvement shows so we are trendy (and cold).
    My new years thought, as I don’t do resolutions, is that it might be good for me to find something positive in the negative when it happens. We’ll see how it works.
    Good luck this year, may all the good you hope for happen.

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    Kudos to you for keeping going when so many fold. Love you my friend and I’m glad you are back.

  • Cynthia Medina says:

    “You got to keep on rolling” – Crank it UP!

  • Ashley says:

    I really needed this today. The past year has been a huge roller coaster and I’ve been stuck at the bottom of the hill for quite awhile. Sometimes you just need to know that someone else understands what you’ve been going through. I look forward to each blog post and every tweet you write! You’re a huge inspiration for me and I couldn’t be happier that you’re blogging again!

  • DiatribesAndOvations.com
    Twitter: DiatribesAndOs
    says:

    Word.

  • I have to admit I am hoping 2014 will be better than 2013… but you’re right, so far it doesn’t feel much different from last year!

  • random cowbell guy says:

    **waves** Hi again AB. If the lessons weren’t hard we would not learn them .

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