As a kid, my big dream was to get hot chocolate at a downtown diner that I thought was ultra swanky because it was inside a hotel and had gold and red velvety decor. It's what my mom promised we'd do when we're flush...or...when our ship comes in. For a long time, I thought it was a real possibility. Needless to say, the only thing flush was our septic tank's oozing leach field. Our ship never did come in. I'm pretty sure it saw us waving desperately from a distance and sank on the spot. It was such a little thing, too, that cup of hot chocolate. But when there's no money, there's no money.
I'm not complaining, but I do sometimes wonder if I'd feel differently if we'd gone through with that small acknowledgment of success. The problem was, I think we never defined success and never knew what flush looked like. Maybe, in some way, it's one reason I find it hard to celebrate the good things. Unless I count a fishing boat that ferried my sick, barfing carcass from Jamaica to Cuba when I was fifteen, nothing even resembling a ship has come my way.
For some reason, 2011 caught me off guard. Just the other day, I was gearing up to be very glad this year was almost over (as per usual) so that I could hope for better days ahead. Something happened, however, when I tried to dredge up my list of 2011 horribles. There really weren't any. In fact, I had to admit that it's been a very good year. I received my MFA degree after three years of struggle and fear that it would never happen, and I had good friends there to celebrate with me. I had nine stories accepted for publication and found rich, rewarding freelance work. My time as a Cybils panelist was challenging (grueling at times), but I discovered books I would have never come across otherwise and made new blogger friends in the process. I've been blessed with friends and mentors, allies and angels. And I've got the most loving, perfect dog in the world. Who needs hot chocolate from some chintzy, low rent diner to celebrate, when life is flush with so many blessings?
Cheers to 2011 and whatever comes next!