The Inner Puritan won’t let me not write these–I want to get to the list of eleven things to let go of this year, but I can’t get to eleven until I go through Reverbs 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Herewith: #7: Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Last spring, we came perilously close to leaving New York for jobs in  flyover country. There’s nothing like thinking you’re going to leave a place to make you value what you’ve got – just like the old Joni Mitchell song says.  When I thought we might be moving, what felt hardest was saying good-bye to the community of friends I’ve discovered at Liam’s school — a group of intelligent, witty, sane people who doing interesting and creative things with their lives. And of that group, I’ve been lucky enough to find several women whose friendship bolsters me on a daily basis. Friends aren’t the same thing as community–I think it’s possible to feel connected to a community without necessarily having intimate friendships among the group–so it’s a double-whammy of goodness to have both in one place.  So it’s not quite that I’ve “discovered” community, exactly, more like I’ve re-valued the community I already have.

And in terms of what community I’d like to connect with more deeply? That’s harder. I have a vision of myself always as the kid on the edges of the “cool crowd,” wishing that maybe I could sit with them in the cafeteria during lunch. Yes, this is an image from high school. No, that image won’t go away. Yes, I’ve been in therapy. No, that’s the one piece we couldn’t quite jostle loose. So yeah, a new community? All those bloggers whose work I admire–Pundit Mom, Mom-101, squashed mom, motherhood in nyc, mamabirddiaries, adhoc mom, the almighty dooce — there are lots more, and yes, those are all “mommy bloggers,” but I like to think of them as “writers” — and they are smart, articulate, passionate women with strong opinions who frequently make me laugh.

So going forward: strengthening the community of friends “on the ground,” so to speak, and maybe getting myself to a blogger conference, so I can meet some of these writers in person, and then, you know, hang around their restaurant tables until they ask me to sit and have a drink.  At which point I will become utterly inarticulate and sit like a martini-swilling stone for the rest of the evening.

Reverb #8: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Okay blech. I loved what Planned Obsolescence did with this prompt, but I have nothing so profound to say. This prompt is like the kind of thing some well-meaning yoga teacher named Lotus says at the end of class and then I want to gag through my namaste. The thing I do that lights people up? Hell if I know. Ask them.

Reverb #9: What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

This prompt makes me think that my much-loved community (see above, #7) might need to be upgraded: there were no socks-off social gatherings this year, as near as I can tell. We threw our annual end-of-year party, which is always fun – but throwing the party doesn’t quite allow a gal to take off her socks and dance on the table. Karen and Sean had a great 40th birthday party but that was … er… a few years ago.  This past year? There have been some great dinners with lots of laughter and cocktails; a friend’s 50th birthday gathering in a bar that was great; a lovely night out with my brother at Rye House, where the house margarita is rimmed with smoked sea salt–so delicious that we were both licking the sides of our glasses. Note to self for 2011: Shenanigans. Husband turns 50 this year and if that’s not an excuse for a socks-rocking social gathering, I’m not sure what is. Of course, given his advanced years, we’ll have to start the celebration early to make sure that we can all get to bed before midnight.

Reverb #10: What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

That’s an easy one. I quit my job and started a new one. Still feeling the aftershocks of that decision but mostly, it feels good. Running close on the heels of that decision was starting Liam on growth hormone. God knows he’s not thrilled about the shot-a-day thing, but there are already subtle signs that the hormone is working: he looks more solid; we had to get him new shoes because the other ones were suddenly too small.

Okay. Now I’m caught up to reverb #11, and that’s a post in its own right. The inner Puritan is happy with my progress. Puritans–such linear thinkers!