… is Michigan. But you knew that.
As 2011 leaves us, I feel as if I’ve not so much been rode hard and put up wet, but more like I’ve been through the spin cycle of a washer. I’m happy to say that my major project for the year, helping my mother get through her health crises, has been successful, but it was a long, long ordeal that took a lot out of both of us. I can also say I still am employed doing a job I enjoy and still have my relationship with Dave. Other things have slipped away, though, and I’m not sure how to get them all back, or in some cases whether to try. This seems to be the year I left comic books behind, for one thing, and I doubt I’ll go back since I wasn’t even reading the ones I bought in 2010.
Watching things happen to other people in my life this year was hard. My sister spent all but the last two weeks in that unemployment limbo so many have been stuck in since the financial industry took the economy down in 2008; I’m happy to say she’s employed again, and at a company that seems to know what it’s doing, for once. She is just one of the people who I worried for but could do nothing for, something that kept me awake some nights. I guess that I can be happy that I had no financial issues, or serious health issues, or even when I had storm damage it was limited to my yard and not, say, my roof. Someone had to be able to be there for others, or pick up slack others could not.
The biggest thing weighing on me, existentially, is an overall disappointment in leaders at all levels in almost all areas of life. Why it has taken almost five decades for this to finally sink in, I must chalk up to an innate naïveté which I think I’ve finally lost. The easiest examples are American political leaders who time and time again this year proved they are simply not up to the task of governing in the best interests of all the people. It matters not whether they’re Democratic or Republican. In 2012 we get the opportunity to vote, but our only choices fall in a relatively narrow band of the political spectrum, so it’s hard to see the point, frankly, if the goal is more than merely keeping things from getting worse. This is repeated in the economic sphere, the social sphere, even in sports. Ask me what I think about college football sometime. (I dare ya!)
I guess I don’t really have an upbeat conclusion. Maybe the upbeat is coming. At least at this year’s end, I’m not sitting here hoping Mom will be ok until a twice-delayed operation is finally done. There may be room for some of what I missed in 2011. And I can always hope that, I dunno, Josiah Bartlett resurfaces to save us politically. (Well, two out of three ain’t bad….) At the moment, Dave is on the couch next to me, we have beef burgundy in the crock pot, and there’s a bottle of 18-year Laphroaig in our immediate future. Huh, guess I found an upbeat conclusion after all!