In just a few days, Anno Domini 2011 will give rise to Anno Domini 2012.
And I would have gone a whole year without saying anything in this space.
I have always imagined that this space was an essential part of my Alzheimer's collection, a carefully curated collection of stuff with the somewhat lofty goal of jolting me to lucidity, should I ever suffer from Alzheimer's (of course, I expect that there will be effective, affordable, non-hair-loss-inducing, wrinkle and dark spot erasing medication by then. But meanwhile, the collection idea is appealing both for dramatic intent and well as realistic purposes.) It appears then, that I've had nothing to say in 2011 - a year which quite easily ranks as a Janani breaking-making-and-defining year. The real breaking-making-and-defining year was 1994. But there was no internet then. When someone finally invents that time machine they keep tempting me with, I promise to go back and make an entry for 1994.
Every year, since 2004, I have come here to vent, to pour out my thoughts, to slip quietly into the alley behind the universe, to warm myself in the blanket of anonymity, to assume alter egos, to be, as you may already suspect, a drama queen, to test out alternate career options, to just be creative. But never, apparently, to just be me. And in 2011, a year that I spent a good deal of time, being just myself, it seems, I wasn't compelled to come out here and hide. The thought is both comforting and disturbing.
Comforting, because perhaps I'm getting more comfortable in my own skin. No! I had a pretty normal childhood (except for the not-watching-enough cartoon network bit), and I have so far not been diagnosed with any kind of clinical or pop-culture-defined neurosis or psychosis. Some people simply find it a tad bit difficult to just be themselves - like remembering names, or being prompt with email correspondence, or not losing their pens and/or umbrellas. And so, in 2011, I got a lot better with just being myself.
Disturbing because, "Reflections" has been wonderful for me over the years. It feels wrong to abandon it for so long. It feels wronger still, that I did not feel like sharing something so good and wonderful. While I was experiencing all the ups and downs of new decisions, drastic changes, facing all the dilemmas of what would happen, and waiting forever for the change to happen, and then remembering with gratitude that there had been much,much more good times than bad in the times that had just passed, what a sad pity that I did not write it all down.
And now, dear future Alzheimer's ridden self, who will tell you about Anno Domini 2011?
There is always facebook. You can find out there. I can only hope that you've told someone your username and your ridiculous password. I can only wish that you have managed to find someone that you can trust enough to do that.
You can always hope your friends will be there around to help you. Because, dear sweet future Alzheimer's ridden self… in 2011, you had a great many friends who stood by you and kept you sane the whole time.
I can only hope that you still remember the amount of time you spent going all hippie, eating and cooking organic food. For a brief time, you contemplated becoming a food critic. And then you thought about becoming a journalist (its strange that during that contemplation you didn't bother to write as much). But you dabbled with both on the internet. Maybe Google (if it still exists) can help you dig out stuff from this year.
Or perhaps you will remember the monkeys. Juno. Malloc. Opie. Emo. Gosh! I hope the names sound familiar. The darling monkeys. Who taught you more about what it is to be human than any actual human you've ever met. Juno - stubborn, penguin shaped, fat, smart, cute little girl. You'd tell anyone who listened how Juno would sit in her chair in her very funny and endearing way. And she had large expressive eyes. And Malloc - fussy, grape peeling, orange scooping, frail, hard working girl. You spent so much time with her trying to get her to eat. It set off that cooking craze. Opie. Big ol grandpa with wisdom in every gray monkey fur he had. And Emo. Crazy old Emo. Who danced when nobody was watching and who couldn't stand bananas. You remember them don't you? For a time, every human you saw reminded you of one of these monkeys. Every baby you saw reminded you of their antics. You had a marvelous time and oh, by the way, you did some science.
And your advisor - she was simply the most generous person you ever saw.
And your parents. You said this about them in your acknowledgment and you teared up when you wrote it.
"Last, but not the least, I would like to thank my parents. I thank the forces that be, for not giving me a choice in the parents I have. Had I been given one, I doubt I would have made such a good choice. I have spared them no hardship. In turn, they have reciprocated by sparing me no comfort. Every step of the way, they have stood by me and I cannot thank them enough."
and you well up every time you think about it.
Dear sweet, wrinkly old Alzheimer's ridden self. 2011 was a great year.
You started afresh towards the end of the year. You worked with disadvantaged children, whose optimism, grit and courage and desire to make the world a better place made you feel so much more humble. And a lot less self defeatist. That was important.
And sure, you weren't working there motivated entirely by the lure of a social cause. You were there because you wanted to learn a lot about a broad range of things.
And at least towards the end of 2011, you were learning a lot. So it worked out quite well.
Dear old mental case,
I haven't done a great job summarizing. Because I'm just rushing to add something to the blog so that I won't miss a gap. It feels wrong that there's nothing for 2011.
But make no mistake. It wasn't because 2011 was a boring year. It was because 2011 was a year worth living. And especially since the only valuable store of all that is your damn head, I find it completely unacceptable that all those memories are wasting away in random nodules in your brain.
So wake up already.
And get on that time machine, and come tell me what's going to happen to me in the next couple of years.
Perhaps in December 2012, we can we can write this note together ?