Monday, December 20, 2010

If Nothing Else…

As the year comes to it’s chilly conclusion, I find myself in the throes of introspection. Fairly typical, I’m sure. But I’ve never been one to engage in New Years shenanigans. I’m not really one for resolutions. I despise the pressure of finding somewhere fabulous to be, with fabulous people, a fabulous outfit and fabulous cocktails. I’d much rather sit at home in my pajamas, watch the Twilight Zone marathon and sip some single malt scotch, curled up with my husband and maybe a few close friends. To me, that is pretty friggin fabulous. This year, though, the navel-gazing is pretty prominent.

This year will forever be the year I view through a lens of loss. I accomplished a lot this year. I started the new career I’ve been working towards for years. I’m closer to finishing grad school. I ran my first marathon and did pretty well at it. I made lots of amazing new friends. With all that to look back on, I can’t help but feel a little bit sad and angry that I’m looking at it and saying to myself, “Look at all I did, in spite of…”

My perception is my own, and it’s up to me to change it, if I wish. But for now, it is what it is. And as my calendar begins to come into focus for 2011, there is so much more I want to accomplish. Maybe the way I’ve been looking at things isn’t the best. Maybe, for 2011 I will be able to say of myself not that I did things in spite of loss or sadness or anything – maybe I will be able to say I accomplished things because I could. Because I was determined enough. Because I was capable. I overcame obstacles. Because they were there.

Awhile back, I read that when mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Everest, he replied, “Because it’s there.”

When I was planning a post-marathon tattoo, I had that quote in mind. I wrote to my friend, Scarlet, and she made a design for me. “26.2 Because it was there.” We face challenges because we have to. We overcome them. We move on. We grow.

At the end of it all, I would like to look back on this year and say, if nothing else, I learned that I am stronger than I thought.


  1. I was curious about the meaning when I first saw your tattoo... it's perfect!

  2. You could've just asked me :) xoxo

  3. i'm so glad we've become friends this year!
    i think loss teaches us that we are stronger than we thought. it is the single most stressful thing that can happen to people. and we learn just what the mind and heart can bear, and how we heal ourselves.
    be gentle yourself lady.
    and i leave you words from my favorite poem, poppies my mary oliver:

    "of course
    loss is the great lesson.

    But I also say this: that light
    is an invitation
    to happiness,
    and that happiness,

    when it's done right,
    is a kind of holiness,
    palpable and redemptive."


  4. Maura, I love that. LOVE IT. I must read more of Mary Oliver, clearly! That's amazing, and really expresses what I've been thinking...

  5. I love the tattoo! Too cool!!

  6. I know it's only the 29th and this is therefore preemptive but I don't yet know what I'm doing for New Years and we live in different states so I cant curl up with you in our matching footie pajamas, drinking scotch and watching twilight zone even though that sounds awesome so instead I will simply wish you a very joyful 2011 and tell you that I love you. done and done.


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