As each year winds to a close, people everywhere celebrate the onset of the new year. They seem happy and excited that a new year is upon us. I think I can remember that feeling but certainly not lately. The idea that a new year can be filled with wondrous anticipation of great things to come seems foreign to me. I get asked what my plans for New Year's Eve are and, I have to say that I wait by the door close to midnight so that I can kick the old year in the ass on its way out.
Now I look to a new year with dread. I wonder what tragedy will transpire in the coming twelve months. This feeling is not unfounded. The past three years have been challenging at best. Honestly, if we wipe October off the calendar permanently, I'd be thrilled. October 2016 brought us Hurricane Matthew. My house was destroyed with three feet of water in the house making it uninhabitable for five months. The clean up was huge and exhausting. I was lucky to be able to move into a small, RV trailer in my yard while the house was under rehabilitation. The holidays that year were spent at restaurants and inns as there was no way to have family over or cook big meals. Spring brought renewal and a move back into the house accompanied by a feeling that I had survived a major disaster. I began to believe that this was a once in a lifetime event and I could breathe easier knowing that this time had passed and I could look to the future with hope to regain a 'normal life'. People kept telling me that, while the experience was bad, “it could have been worse”.
October 2017 brought us Hurricane Irma. Once again, my house flooded, although not as bad as Matthew, but still required major clean up and loss of personal belongings. Having lost my good buddy of 16 years (my little dog) just the month before, I was once again devastated. Two hurricanes in 8 months seemed unreal. Once again I watched my neighbors drag wet, ruined belongings out of their homes and pile them in the front yard for trash removal. My lovely yard, which was just beginning to recover the damage from salt water the previous year, died a long slow death. Also, unlike Matthew, Irma brought wind damage and the debris from tree limbs, leaves, vines and more was piled up waist deep in my yard. My heart sank as I undertook yet another major clean up and restoration. While the interior of the house survived intact, except the garage and everything in it, I was consoled by friends and family with the “it could have been worse” advice. At this point it started to sound more like a curse than an empathetic statement.
New Year's 2018 started with that feeling of anticipation and trepidation a new year brings. I had hopes for a hurricane free year and this proved true. But once again, October 2018 brought another disaster. I had almost made it through the month unscathed, but on the next to the last day of the month, I fell and severely broke my leg and dislocated my right shoulder. I wound up in the hospital needing surgery to install a plate and screws in my leg with stern restrictions from the doctor to stay completely off the leg for three months. I am now in the the third month of this latest set back with a long recovery ahead.
Now as I look at 2019, I am tempted to refuse to move forward. I'd like to just re-set the year back to 2018, minus October. I know for certain that the coming October will be spent locked in a closet for all of the 31 days trying to avoid another horrible event. And for everyone who would like to say that “it could be worse”, well it sure as hell could have been a lot better!
Hope your New Year is filled with everything good. I will be happy for one that is uneventful.