2011 will go down for me as a strangely bipolar year. When it was good, it was very good. And when it was bad, it was horrid.
On one hand, I feel fortunate to have found two amazing communities in a town that has a reputation for transient and rootless. Junior League of Las Vegas has been a fantastic outlet for me to find like-minded women working to better our valley. It's put me in touch with people I would have never otherwise met and I love, love, love the fact that we really are making a difference. It's exciting, it's inspiring, and it's allowed me to use my (non-mommy) brain again. I'm proud to say I've volunteered over 500 hours this year alone to Junior League. I'm exciting to see what the new year brings and what new challenges the organization takes on, and I'm very thankful to be a part of it.
The second community is my little running/boot camp group. It may seem weird to call them a community, since I barely know most participants by name (and subsequently have given them nicknames in my head like "Grunting Girl" and "Overenthusiastic Guy"), but I really appreciate their presence. The boot camp and running team have changed the way I look at myself and the world around me. I never thought a fitness challenge would yield such amazing returns, but it's helping to push me in other areas, too. I feel that I've grown as a person this year, in terms of self-confidence and ability, and shrunk in the areas that count the most: arms, waist, thighs. (haha). Hooray for that.
On the flipside, however, 2011 was a game changer of a year. Losing my dad is still something of a mystery to me. It still hasn't quite sunk in. I'm not sure if it's the alacrity in which the events moved - six weeks from diagnosis to death - or just the fact that I cannot accept the world is without him. I don't know. It's made me reevaluate everything in my own life, from my spiritual beliefs to the grief process to various healthy and unhealthy behaviors, and I've come up with more questions than answers. If anything, I think I've learned to live with the fact he's not here, although it's easiest to pretend it didn't happen. If and when that denial ends, I'll let you know. But for now, it's the only way I seem to be able to function.
I also lost some critical friendships this year. I'm still not sure what happened, but after he passed, I just kind of shut down. I fully admit that I was a crappy friend to many people; it was like the perfect storm of events took over and I literally stopped returning phone calls/emails/texts. I take full responsibility for that. My job in Junior League (which started in early June) was broadsided by my dad's passing in mid-June. I threw myself into activities to cope during most of the summer, and by then, Scotty decided that I could not talk on the phone for longer than five minutes whenever he was up. With his nap times taken over by work, I simply did not have the time nor energy to return calls. The hands-free law that went into effect in Nevada on Oct 1 put an end to me talking while driving, and so, I became a really bad friend. To those who have been patient with me, thank you. To those that are fed up with me, I'm sorry. Maybe the new year (and preschool!) will be different.
With that said, I've gotten various questions from people who have mentioned that I have time to write in the blog, yet lack the time to call them back. This is a deliberate choice on my part. Writing this blog has literally become oxygen to me. When I started, I didn't realize how helpful it would become. Now, 2+ years in, I make time to write because not only do I enjoy it, but it helps me to vent, organize, get through, or extol on whatever is going on in our lives. It does not - and should not - serve as a way of keeping in touch with friends, but when it does, it's helpful.
So I'm going to keep writing into the new year. I don't know what 2012 will bring. For Brian, my guess is more work and more responsibilities (and I promise: some golf. I promise). For Scotty, it brings the beginning of his academic career (I say that mildly sarcastically; the kid is going to make butter and sparkly crafts for an outrageous price-tag, but whatever) and hopefully, potty-training. For me, I'm just going to continue doing what I do: writing, running, volunteering, and trying to be a good mom/wife/cook/hostess/life organizer.
Thank you to everyone who's read the blog this year. I've appreciated all of the feedback, all of the comments, and all of the support. I wish you the best in 2012. Happy New Year!