While sifting through my old stuff in an attempt to get organized, I found the following:
Sorry the type is so small but I’ve got a lot to say. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Making-the-best-out-of Life in Bush Country to ya. One friend sends out annual reviews of the books and movies she’s seen recently and another has included photos of her two lovely daughters until last yer when they got old enough to fight back. A third friend who wrote reflective end of the year newsletters did not live to send one this year. A fourth shared her adventures in blog activity. In the past, when I have managed to assemble a mini Newsletter booklet it has usually been in the form of an attempt at–if not humor, then irony. One year I even stole cartoons from the New Yorker for inclusion. This year I completed a 7-little paged newsletter with a Dark theme, and then trashed it.
Instead of the Dark theme I decided to focus on a theme of gratitude. I continue to have many things for which I am grateful: my family and I are still living, relatively healthy, and I still retain many of my marbles, am still intellectually ravenous, still blog and maintain contact with distant and some formerly unknown family members via two Myfamilly.com sites [now put out of business by Family Tree]. I blatantly get my news from Salon and AlterNet.com rrather than television, and celebrate the fact that I finally need less sleep, so have more time available to me.
When I think about my greatest blessings it comes down to being thankful that I don’t live in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan or any of those countries where even as I write, unthinkable suffering continues, so that those who physically survive may ultimately enjoy democracy. Oh, and I forgot to be thankful I’m not in Guantanamo, nor am I contributing to the United States’ record of having the greatest percentage of its citizens, worldwide–(715 individuals per 100,000) in prison. It’s either shameful or human or both, but I guess I am regretfully thankful it’s them and not me. Whew! Not a good admission. As my grandmother on the farm used to say, “If wishes were horses beggars would ride.” My wish is that the world could be cleaned of all physical violence. If we don’t exterminate ourselves in the next hundred years or so, I hope we may have learned enough for school curricula to include educational violence prevention, as it used to offer classes on human sexuality prior to Bush’s regime.
At the immediately personal level, my children and grandchildren…..and I am glad I was able to lay aside one life for another (I let go my Ohio psychology license when I turned 71). I am thankful for the State of Ohio’s retirement system, for my Spiritual Growth Discussion group and those in it. for the miracles of modern medicine…and for the freedom of the internet, at least at present. (Have you written your Congressman in support of network neutrality?)
Accomplishments this year include completion of the first draft of a daffy novel, a slight decrease in my Avoidant Personality traits, re-connecting with some friends across a distance of 30 years, returning to attendance at the Unitarian Fellowship and volunteering at Public Access tv in Athens.
I don’t watch much tv except when I stumble across an episode of Law and Order. Reading has been split between throw-away mysteries and books that convey new dicoveries (I guess all discoveries are new) and/or new ways of looking at things. Most recently (not technically just this year) I have found stimulation in E. O. Wilson’s “Consilience” ; the phenomenon of emergence in Steven Johnson’s book by that name; the genetic contribution to personality in “Born That Way,” also by Steven Johnson; and “The User Illusion” by Tor Norretranders. I was caught without a response to Sam Harris’ thoughts on pacifism and torture; to the Mexican immigrant problem a la Lou Dobbs, and to the question of free will as explored by several, relative to a measurable physiological “green light” prior to a conscious decision to act. You see, I think deeply as I grocery shop for diet foods in my new orthopedic shoes at Wal Mart…I was delighted by early research that suggests that all living cells give off a unique detectable sound (Smithsonian March 2004 p 30), and horrified to read Lloyd DeMause’s “Our Forbears Made Childhood a Nightmare,” in Psychology Today April, 1975. Oh yes, another thing I’m most definitely thankful for is the ability to read, and write to you…