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Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

It’s Not Really A Circle, Is It?

Be warned—this post does ramble.

In the last few days…

The son of a family friend over-dosed and died.

My 82-year-old grandfather who underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery three weeks ago has developed a significant staph infection, and he remains hospitalized.

Someone I love took a chance and had her heart broken, again.

My husband’s brother-in-law took his own life.

Meanwhile, my cousin gave birth to a healthy baby girl four days ago and my best friend is eagerly expecting the arrival of baby number six within the next few weeks. My blog buddy, Pam, is expecting her own cookie and I’m relishing in her cautious anticipation of motherhood after shedding too many tears while finding her way through the tribulations of infertility.

Today, in Portugal, my sister-in-law attended her husband’s funeral and mourns her children’s father and her companion of 40 years. Today, in America, a young man we’ve watched grow up proclaimed his love and commitment in front of God and family as he married with doe-eyed enthusiasm and anticipates his future.

I read with heart-felt relief that Twenty Four at Heart started 2009 with news her breast biopsy is clear, but I’m waiting to find out if Jen is receiving equally uplifting reports.

Like you, I’ve browsed a plethora of resolutions as people mark the New Year with hope and purpose to achieve something personally or professionally, and although I’m not a January first resolution-making kind of girl, I’ve found myself drawn to people’s determined posts, to the idea of clean slates and blank canvases. I’m drawn to Jan’s renewed commitment to simply live.

Day-to-day we’re handed new beginnings and unexpected endings. I had a grand plan for 2009, but the Market collapse has made impossible what I had intended, or at least that’s what I thought as I started to re-plan and prepare my mind for a certain amount of professional drudgery I didn’t want to endure. Life ends. Life begins. Everything in between is malleable to a certain extent. My own flexibility has been tested time and time again and I realize I’m at a new crossroad that has nothing to do with the New Year, and has everything to do with a new mindset.

It’s cold today and as life throws hard-packed snow balls, more of us are reevaluating family and the simplest of joys. Perhaps as people struggle to stand taller in the face of loss, we find comfort in what we’ve always known-that our children, our families, provide the most honest reflections of what we have accomplished and the merriment we have yet to create.

Several people have announced job losses. As my clients struggle to pay their invoices, I find myself bill-collecting, and wondering, and anxious.

Last night I heard my 24-year-old stepson tell my four-year-old son he loves him, and my heart smiled.

Today my father figured out how to comment on my blog, and it made clear that the universe is certainly off-kilter, shifting, and even the seriously technically challenged can accomplish anything when appropriately provoked.

Baby giggles, kindergarten play dates, a teenager holding her father’s hand while hiking a wooded path, or a mother and son’s tea date at the kitchen table, people seem to be searching for connections, honing in on the celebratory worthiness of sharing between generations, and it’s really quite lovely.

In a few days, with a little luck, I’ll celebrate my 37th birthday. It’s awfully close to 40 and the proximity seems unnerving, but the alternative is certainly worse.

I hope to make 2009 better than 2008, but not as satisfactory as the promise of 2010. The road will twist. I’ll lose. I’ll gain. Most important, I hope I’ll learn. It’s not really a circle, is it? It’s a twisted path, a tempting journey; life is, if we’re lucky enough to walk it with our heads held high and our minds and hearts absorbent—if we’re fortunate enough to love, to be loved, if we have the faintest possibility of a dream.

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