Dear 2008 we have now spent 31,556,926 seconds together (give or take a few thousand at the time of writing you this). We shared seconds I wish could have lasted forever, and seconds I wish I could give back to you that will remain with me forever. In the same year, I saw my son walk his first steps and my marriage walk its last. We have shared deep sadness, betrayal, shock, anger, hate, frustration, helplessness, joy, exhaustion, success, failure, love, heartaches, and headaches.
More than halfway through the year, I knew you were starting to consume me. I couldn’t absorb all that was being asked of me and that I was asking of myself. I was like a sponge who had taken in all it could, which didn’t have room to absorb anything else. I knew that I was taking on more than I should, and it was affecting myself and those around me. I started to tell others I was seeing things were broken and my desire to fix them. Fortunately, I had enough foresight to realize part of what was happening, but I had no idea how much foresight I lacked, which I eventually gained. The important thing I take away from 2008 is I now understand what happens to a sponge which has nothing left to absorb is squeezed. It drains itself of everything the pressure demands, which leaves it void of what it used to have. However, the sponge is then able to absorb better things. In life, be careful how much you absorb, but also be careful how much you let go of something you have committed to keeping.
You taught me a lot about myself, probably more than any other year I have come to know. You have changed me in ways I didn’t think possible. Entering 2008 I was on a track to something I thought I wanted, but it took a freight train on that track to hit me to realize it is something no longer of importance to me. My nephew Evan’s favorite toy is Thomas the Tank, and I find it so interesting every time I play with him that he creates a disaster in order for Thomas to come and save the day. Evan yells, “HELP CHOO CHOO… HELP!” and along comes Thomas to assist. My help isn’t coming from a train but rather from others who have helped push me up the hill saying “I think you can, I think you can”. To those who have helped push me up the biggest obstacle of my life, words can’t express how grateful I am. Freight trains are tough to stop and even after they hit you, they will drag you quite a distance if you don’t find a way to stop it. I tried to stop it several times after it hit me before realizing the train didn’t have brakes of its own, so the best thing I could do was direct it onto another track I was not on, but I truly hope in doing so it doesn’t hit anyone else in its path.
Do whatever it takes to keep your family happy and since that isn’t always possible, remember to find a way to keep yourself happy. Just be careful to make sure your happiness isn’t at the expense of others. I’m sorry 2008, I won’t miss you, but I’m also not sorry for meeting you, which is an odd thing for me to say. 2009 you had better be good to me because I deserve so much better than 2008.