My wife tried to engage me in her version of the end of year wrap-up. Her categories were "Awesomes" and "Bummers." First of all, you'll have to excuse my wife, who may have been born in Detroit, but has spent more than a quarter of a century absorbing the patois of her adopted California. Still, one might think that regardless of the headings, as a family and as a married couple we would have similar lists. But I found myself flummoxed from the start.
Awesome? Did I ever feel full of awe in 2011? That seemed like a pretty tall order. I could certainly remember feeling gleeful at times: Tim Tebow beats the Raiders. Navy Seal Team Six beats Osama bin Laden. My son matriculates from middle school. My wife shows up in time to rescue me and my bike from a broken derailleur cable and then sticks around for lunch. Were these moments awesome?
Well, as is my Eeyore nature, I found myself doing the accounting, wishing that Tebow had won both Raiders games and that I hadn't had the cable crisis in the first place. If I had a full glass, I would probably go find one twice as big so that I could say that it was half empty. Navy Seal Team Six? Why did it take them ten years to find a six foot six terrorist mastermind? On the other hand, it was embarrassing how quickly I could fill my Bummer list: Stolen car, public education funding, yet another pre-schooler shot on Oakland streets, and that was before I had even given it much thought.Maybe it would have been more efficient to put my picture at the top of the list, and leave it at that.
But that would be missing the point of the exercise. I need to start appreciating the joys that surround me, even if it puts a dent in my sarcastic veneer. The PE class that I ran where I counted all the calisthenics and stretches using funny voices was awesome. I finished the first draft of a romantic comedy, which may not be awesome yet, but the accomplishment was. And I survived another year in a public school in Oakland. Awesome.
See? I can do this thing if I just put my mind to it.