As My Dad Used to Say….

“…don’t let the door hit your butt as you go out.”

Which is how I’m bidding adieu to 2011. Good riddance.
Don’t get me wrong. This hasn’t been an overwhelmingly difficult year, but it has been a year of pronounced fluctuations. I’ve generally tried in my life to be an easy-going gal. To roll with punches. To take good with bad and be grateful for lessons, etcetera etcetera. To be flexible. All the things that seem like what we’re supposed to do as we get older. Until something out of left field hits us and the cliches reveal themselves to be exactly that. Kind of like a bowl of cereal where the milk may have spoiled, but you’re not really sure until you get to the bottom and your tummy starts to send up “Hey S**t Head! Pay attention to what you’re doing!” signals. And then peripheral vision becomes desperately important. Plotting an exact and specific course to a sink, tub, toilet or can by the most efficient route without tripping over a bag, shoe, animal or person becomes crucial. Because something’s coming back up, and the question is only how well you control the splatter. That’s kind of how this year has been for me. A question of how well I’ve controlled the splatter.
During 2011, things with my health (or to quote The First Edition, “the condition my condition was in*”) have been in flux. Adjusting to a diagnosis, getting a grip on my internet-research hysteria, accepting (??) treatment options and the complete unpredictability of the disease has not been a good time. I am a planner, and I like to be prepared for contingencies, but anyone who has unexpected anythings erupt in their lives knows only too well that other cliche. The one about best laid plans…. Come to think of it, that’s a cliche that I don’t even know where the ellipses goes next. “Best laid plans…” what? What do they do? Do they go awry? Run amuck? Are they clearly not laid very well after all because Magic 8 Balls are toys and crystal balls only work on Coney Island? I don’t know.
Perhaps the thing best laid plans are best for is indicating the value of punctuational impressionism. Giving a sort of freedom to the persons involved because it really could be anything. For some it could be NOT having to bury a loved one, or be laid off of a job, or discover an infidelity or an unexpected pregnancy. Best laid plans usually prevent foreclosures or divorces. Personally, my best laid plans were to NOT have Multiple Sclerosis and the possibility of my fledgeling career as an author impacted or cut short by an incurable neurological condition. But, that’s the nature of the cliche, isn’t it? Best laid plans are, at best, laid in marshmallow. I suppose that’s because landing on concrete hurts so much more.
I digress.
On the bright side, pronounced fluctuations mean high highs as well as low lows. The pharmaceutical companies are banking on that, of course, because it drives an entire industry of mood stabilizing chemicals. Sans their input I have had lows, yes, but I’ve had the highs, too. I have dear friends who have squeezed me tight and laughed with me. I have a husband who makes it his priority to keep me safe and find music that will take my mind off my fears. My Thister and niece drove 6 hours one Sunday morning to surprise me on my door step with a care package of Nutella and stuffed animals. I’m not able to be a fully-affective waitress right now, but my bosses have made room for me in the office so I still have a job. I am very very very fortunate.
And so I will pull the shade on 2011 tonight not with a heavy heart, but with one that is hopeful. My new best laid plan is to maintain optimism and perspective. That is not a cliche. It just is. To do opposite is to stay in the lowest lows and make no plans at all and where would that get me? Only more ellipses, I think, but…this way at least I’ll have good music and squeezes and tasty hazelnut spread along the way. I’ll control the splatter. It seems like a person could do a lot worse….
*From Kenny Rogers & The First Edition:
And one of my favorite “Decembuary” songs:

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