What I Can and Cannot Do: Lessons from 2010


I am a living, breathing contradiction. While I really don’t like all this “looking back” on the TV, the radio, the internet, I must review my year as it has been a humdinger in the form of life lessons. And say my blessings. It has been good. And you have to get to good in order to move on to better.

This years started out as bipolar time. Major players in my family were seriously ill and I had the extreme pleasure of participating in my godchild’s wedding festivities which began at noon on January 1st.  Mercifully, the extremes all melded. The ride throughout the following months was not unlike a white water rafting trip, beginner level.

It’s true, you know, about the seasons of life. People come in and out. I used to think that was a bad thing, but I’ve been around long enough to  know otherwise.  I miss the loved ones whose seasons ended this year, but death cannot erase my happy memories of them. As for the others, I can honestly say it’s all good. I’m positive I will forget very important occurrences, but, for now, here’s what I am reminded of:

  • Started this blog in January. There is no way I could have imagined the richness my blog friends have brought to my life. No way. It began as a resource fueled by my need to write. While I love writing, there was no way to know that the pleasures, the friendships, the support, the caring for others and their writing would be the gift.
  • I didn’t even try to “fix” anyone this year. That isn’t my job – because I am nowhere near perfect, because I am not a therapist, because it is an impossible task. If you need fixin’, you must fix yourself. Period.
  • Laughter. I have laughed more this year that I have in the past five. With dear friends in beautiful locales, with dear friends in shit city. With strangers and acquaintances. Love this.
  • Began cooking again. Learned to bake. Practiced the art of Kanzashi until my fingers bled. Learned to step back and take a breath instead of jumping to conclusions. Began the task of clearing away the clutter, in my home and in my heart. Never stop learning.
  • Took a long walk off a short pier in several areas of life: job and personal. No regrets. Leaving what you know, good or bad, for the unknown is scary. But so pregnant with possibilities and opportunities. I am thankful. Very thankful.
  • Take nothing for granted. I try.
  • Just try to love people the best you can. I know my limits. There are those who I can throw my arms around and hang with all day. And there are others I must keep at a distance. But I love them all, anyway.

On December 23rd, I went with my dear friends to participate in a church service and dinner. It was held at The Church Under the Bridge for the homeless. I cannot express how touched I was by the crowd and the individuals I was privileged to meet. The ground is level, indeed. During the service, I sat between two men. Troubled, of course. But educated, kind, courteous, and compassionate. At one point during the evening, it got so cold. The man to my left took his blanket and put it over me so I wouldn’t suffer. Who helped who? Enough said.

As the year comes to an end, I’m full of contradictions. Armed with two editions of The Snark Handbook by Lawrence Dorfman, The Awe-Manac, A Daily Dose of Wonder by Jill Badonsky, a million ideas for my new business – well, I’ve got much to do. And much to do better than before. I will greet the new year as a single woman of a certain age, blessed with friends and family. And I will paint this life with broad, colorful strokes in bold colors, even though I am most certainly stepping out on that wire with no safety net. Just have to see what the day brings. This IS how I roll.



26 thoughts on “What I Can and Cannot Do: Lessons from 2010

  1. Happy New Year, Izzie! The best is yet to come…


  2. That sounds like a lovely service. How kind of that man to offer you his blanket. Really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

    • It was awesome, Todd. Sure adjusted my perspective, espeically since 99% were men and vets. I asked one man why there were no women (I know there are but there was just one were I was); he replied, “No woman or child should live this way.” LUMP IN THROAT. And a more honorable reply to my question than I’ve heard from many men I know who are livining the”great” life. Contradiction everywhere.

  3. I wouldn’t change anything this year either.
    Have a very prosperous 2011

  4. Amen…what great lessons. Happy New Year to you too!

  5. Carpe Diem, izzie, keep going.

  6. Wow, yeah, the world is full of contradictions and I am learning everyday to not judge so quickly. Thanks for the reminder yet again, wise one you are Izzie! 🙂 Happy New Year to you & yours!

  7. Love this post, iz – so inspiring and real. And brave. I’m thankful to have met you in this bloggy world, and I LOVE how you roll!
    Hugs and blessings from London
    Sunshine xx

  8. I’m with Todd. That’s so nice about the guy giving you part of his blanket. Happy New Year, Izzie!

  9. As far as the “year in review” type of thing goes, this was a good one! I especially liked the “long walk, short pier” line. I can relate.

    Here’s to 2011! May she be a damn sight better!

  10. I hear you loud and clear on the amateur psychologist thing. Took me *years* to finally figure out that I’m not qualified. Never was.

    Endings. Personal and professional. Yeah, I’ve been there too. Scary and exhilarating, all at the same time. Much better than sticking to something that doesn’t work. And emotionally and spiritually dying in the process. I’d rather live.

    Hope this turns out to be the happiest and most fulfilling new year for you!

  11. Powerful post! Sounds like an incredible 12 months–I look forward to reading more in the coming year!

  12. Yay!! Here’s to more Izzie blogs 🙂
    All the best women are full of contradictions. It’s all about wearing Dior on the farm for me, and all about selfish-selfless!! It’s what makes us interesting!
    I might do a review myself! – You have inspired me!

  13. Awesome, uplifting post, Izzie! There are some days (years, as well) when we must pat ourselves on the back for surviving. Sounds like you’re not only surviving but thriving — good for you! I’m glad we met in this blogging world, and I look forward to reading more of your adventures in 2011!

  14. Happy New Year, Izzie! May we all have a new year filled with joy, both expected and unexpected. And may we find that whatever challenges are tossed our way, we are stronger than we ever thought possible.

  15. Izzy, what a creative way to sum up your year. I remember all to well that first year I entered single mom status. What an amazingly positive turning point for me. I know you will have a year full of growth and exciting possibilities.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your online friendship and look forward to another year of reading your blog and comments.

  16. Izzie, Darling
    I wish Texas and Virginia were right next to each other. I’d love to commiserate on walking on the edge with you. This month marks my jump from a secure paycheck to a life of freelance writing and uncertainty. I’ve made it so far, not without major sacrifices, balanced by new found delights!
    You’ve expressed it quite well.
    More to come, more to come.. I just know it!

  17. Pingback: Still Learning in 2010… « Herding Cats in Hammond River

  18. Iz, I’m right there with you in not liking all this Year in Review stuff — but looking back over our own year is different. It helps us appreciate how much we’ve grown, how many people have supported us along the way, and focus on ways we can grow and improve in the future. Sounds as if you’ve had a memorable year — I’m glad to have made your acquaintance in blog-world and I look forward to reading more of your adventures in 2011!

  19. “I will paint this life with broad, colorful strokes in bold colors”
    I need to make this my mantra. Sometimes I feel like I’m muddling around in nothing but grey.

  20. Love this post…I have done a lot of blogging (your blog most certainly has gotten me out of numerous boring moments!!!) and end of year/start of year contemplation myself. It’s an interesting life and it helps to love, laugh and do all things naughty 🙂

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