best of 2009: in a word

I’m trying something new for me this month, a web community challenge: Gwen Bell’s The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Find the best the year has offered me, and review, remember, contemplate, reflect, and celebrate it. There’s a question/topic each day.
December 17 — Word or phrase. A word that encapsulates your year. “2009 was _____.”

Whew, 2009 was a lot of things, a lot them on the downside, too. It was a very harsh year. It was a year of loss, of sadness, of longing, of deterioration. Looking back, I see that some of that isn’t completely true, that it’s just how it feels to me. There were some good things in it. One reason I’m doing this challenge is to seek out the positive and remind myself that the year has not been as wholly bleak as a quick reflection shows.

So I’ve been toying with words and phrases for 2009 all day. One good word is challenging. This year has been that. I ignored some of the challenges, put them off for the coming year.  But some could not be ignored and surprisingly I rose to some of the challenges and impressed myself that I had. I’ve often feared that I’m someone who would fall apart under these circumstances. We like to believe we are dependable but I doubted myself. When those challenges came this year, I didn’t fall apart. I endured and even contributed, pushing past some of my failings and frailties.

2009 was also a year of transitions. That’s partly a nice way of speaking of my losses: some of them have significantly changed my life. I’ve felt adrift a lot this fall. I have responsibilities and I plod on because of them, but within me there’s been turmoil and disorientation and always that doubt. I used to trust to the future and now there’s a lot of uncertainty.  But to balance that, I’ve also started to explore some areas I’ve always assumed were beyond my reach and to try to find a voice in disciplines I never considered before and to rekindle old interests I let die down long ago. And I’m trying to push myself to push myself more. I’ve grown complacent and defeated and old in recent years and it’s time to get past all that. So 2009 is a year of changing and hopefully a prelude to a stronger year ahead.