I've gotta say that 2013 was a helluva year and I'm not sorry to see it go. Between 2 sick kitties, CatMan's broken pelvis, Google doing it's best to destroy my business, and my mother's death, I feel a bit like I've been through the ringer.
Of course there were good things too.
My 16 year old kitty Sputnik was given just a few weeks to live last December, and at the moment he's happily scarfing down a bowl of kitty junk food (hey - I figure his days are numbered he can eat whatever he wants.)
He's lost some weight and has to take a bunch of medication - but he's still hangin' in there and still enjoying his life, so all in all, I think I have to call that one a win.
Smoky the young'en (he's only 4 years old) was rushed to the kitty ER this summer because he was swollen up like a sweet potato. Turned out his blood protein levels were dangerously low. They were pretty sure he had lymphoma and were hopeful that with proper treatment he might live a year.
Since then all of his numbers have returned to normal and he's gained several pounds. The vet called it a miraculous recovery. So - gotta call that one a win too.
CatMan was out of commission for about 6 weeks with his fractured pelvis, but he seems to have healed up nicely with no residual problems.
And somehow watching him go through that, and seeing that an accident doesn't have to mean the end of the world did wonders for my sense of physical security on my bike.
And while Google's changes to its image search certainly did make the number of visitors and page views on all of my sites plummet - the same thing happened to every other image based site on the web.
So now there are many fewer sites competing for Google ad impressions, so the amount of money I make didn't really change that much. I seem to have come out of that one relatively unscathed as well.
In terms of my mother, well - that one is certainly more complicated.
She and I had a very difficult relationship dating way back to my childhood. When I'm able to step back and see her as just another person on the planet (as opposed to seeing her as my mother with all the baggage that entails) I can tell that she was really just an angry & unhappy person who dealt with her problems through addiction and abuse - which isn't terribly surprising since she came from a family full of addiction and abuse.
Given the horrible things she did to her body throughout her lifetime it's sorta remarkable that she lived to be 73 years old.
My brother and I had been preparing ourselves to deal with a long drawn out scenario of institutional living because her abilities to care for herself were dwindling - and since she lived alone and shunned most attempts that people made to befriend her, we also worried that something horrible could happen.
As it turned out she pretty much kept her faculties intact until the end, and then died peacefully in her sleep.
So while I'd be hard pressed to say that I'm glad about her passing, when I think about all the ways it could have gone, I'm grateful that it was an easy death.
It also does provide some sense of closure to a painful chapter in my life.
And lest I forget to mention it, I did finally get my mortgage paid off in 2013 so that has to count as a big win!
I guess when I really stop to look at it - there is much to be grateful for.
Which leads me to one last thought here... since choosing a "word for the upcoming year" seems to be the "thing" these days, I think I'm gonna choose "surrender".
I mean, when I really look at the past year, the worst part about the "negatives" was how hard I fought against them.
But I think 2013 really taught me that so much in life is simply beyond our control. And perhaps I'd be better off just accepting what comes my way and trying to learn whatever the universe is trying to teach me.
So Happy New Year, Y'All!