Isn’t that a nice string of participles with which to confront this weird limbo space between Christmas and New Year’s?  Heal yourself of stress, avoid the inevitable bills/mess/family/hangover, imagine all that you’re going to be healthier/happier/richer/thinner/balanced-er in the new year.

Of course, first you’ve got to finish your reverbs, dammit. Or there will be no balance no way, no how. So I will ignore the obvious jeezuz-did-it-ever-snow post, and the here-are-my-kids-romping-in-the-snow picture sequence, and instead concentrate on reverberating through the year that was into the year that will be.

Prompt from Dec 19: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

Is there really any way to answer this question other than by breaking into a Marvin Gaye chorus?  Which then would make one wonder how “sexual healing” would happen “drip-by-drip” … but this isn’t a sex column so I’ll leave that image to those with more vivid imaginations than my own.

Other than quitting my old job (remind me to tell you about the nun who embezzled millions of dollars over the last few years from the college where I used to teach–and spent most of the money in Atlantic City. THAT’S a healing story if ever there was one) and suddenly finding myself living and working in the same zip code (every New Yorker’s dream), life remains a state of perpetual ambivalence. But perhaps there’s healing in accepting that ambi-ness instead of insisting always on certainty and consistency. Remember what Emerson says: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  Thus I will remain wisely inconsistent into the new year, thanks, sarcastic and (more or less) unhealed.

So was I healed in 2010? Oh good lord probably I wasn’t, because I’m still mostly a sarcastic bitch, and sarcasm comes from anger, right? And if I’d been healed then I wouldn’t be angry and thus not sarcastic, which means that I can’t ever be healed because then I will lose whatever claim I have to being “a funny person,” and if I stop being funny then the mean girls in 5th grade will start beating me up again.

So that’s gonna be an ix-nay on the ealing-hay.

Prompt from Dec 20: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

A wise friend from long ago told me that if I could avoid “should,” my life would be a happier place. The joke, of course, is that he said I should avoid “should.” I like to think that I did all that I had to do this year–all that I was required to do, and even some stuff that I did because I thought I “should:” helping at the boys’ schools, volunteering for committees at my new job, stuff like that.

What didn’t I do? I didn’t pursue my writing projects with the diligence I promised myself when I changed jobs (all that time you’ll save commuting, I told myself; you can totally put those hours towards writing time. Insert maniacal laughter here).  It wasn’t fear that kept me from starting…just…inertia, pure and simple. Inertia and underestimating what it would take to get used to a new routine and new responsibilities. Or maybe those are excuses masking a fear so deep I can’t or won’t articulate it, but at this point, who cares? Come 2011, my students may have to wait longer to get their assignments back, and my kids may be eating pizza for dinner for for weeks on end…they’re all young. Resilient. They’ll recover. Me? I’m old and running of out time. No more excuses.

Prompt from Dec 21: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Funny, when I think about it, the advice would be the same whether I’m looking backwards or forwards: it’s going to be okay. If I were five years away, on the eve of 2016, looking back at me now, worrying about all the possible changes coming down the pike this year, I’d tell myself to relax and let the adventure happen.  I’d remind myself that nothing happens without risk–and remind myself of the risk I took more than fifteen years ago, when I ended a serious multi-year relationship (we’d bought A Ring, set A Date, I’d bought The Dress), because I finally figured that even though relationships were supposed to be “work,” they were also supposed to be, you know, fun.  So I left. And it was scary for a while but then…then everything was okay.

I don’t know what it means, that the same piece of advice has held true for the past fifteen years.  Am I that stupid, that I can’t figure out the importance of trusting the risk? I’m an Aquarius, for god’s sake – aren’t we supposed to be the free spirits of the zodiac? Or maybe I should blame the fact that I’m actually born on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius–the Goat in me wants to Manage Everything.

If I were an embroidery type of person, maybe that’s what I’d stitch on a wee pillow for my couch: “trust the risk.”

Luckily, I don’t know how to embroider. But I’m still going to take my own advice. Finally.  I mean, I’m slow, but I’m educable.