My 52nd year began on a bleak note, with setbacks I’ve yet to find a way to overcome. From childhood, my birthday has almost always been a weird sort of day. With the exception of a handful of “leap years,” it has always been preceded by or taken place in tandem with the unfolding of some adverse event. Chasing 52 only differed slightly in that bad news had been looming on our horizon a bit before the appointed day. So, Chasing 53 is filled with my usual sense of dread.
This past year has been one filled with social and political examination, interwoven with much deeply personal introspection. My journey as an American, a writer, and political thinker in search of her place in each of the usual compartments of life has been riddled with twists and turns I had been bracing for, but the provenance of which I hadn’t been expecting.
It has been a year filled with loss, both material and spiritual. Both kinds of losses have been equally emotionally draining, and the disappointments deep. I never imagined, with 51 years of life behind me, that I could still experience such deep disillusionment in man or wounded self-pride in misjudging his character and intent. But I did, and, in retrospect, it is that idealistic sense of trust that has guided my life and I’ve so jealously guarded which failed me and, as I still lick open wounds, I vow to continue not giving in to that devil called cynicism.
At the risk of being disillusioned again, I will stay true to my heart and continue to trust, dream, hope that fairness, not the duplicity of self-interest and exploitation will win the day. I will keep opining as I have. I will keep questioning as I have. I will also take a certain someone’s advice and beware of hit dogs who scream the loudest.
This year began with Charlie Hebdo and ends with San Bernadino. The two events have a common thread that runs through all of the lives I’ve lived and identities I’ve taken, from birth and growing up in various places overseas, to finally making a life here at home. Each event disrupted my assumptions about the meaning of kinship, tribalism and race in America, causing me to reflect deeper and much wider than I’d previously considered.
It has been a year of endings, in some cases of decades long friendships. We said goodbye to our 14 year old dog, Speedy.
This was a very harsh year, the kind of harshness youth is better equipped to withstand; the kind one hopes to survive only once in a lifetime. The kind I experienced in the Tech Bubble, and hope I will survive this time, as well. It was also a year of symbolic achievements; getting published a couple of times and achieving a significant milestone with the blog. Why symbolic? Because neither is leading to success or even some relative assurance of it.
This was a very oppressive year; one weighed down by the desperation and pain caused by the brutality around us. The daily assaults, deaths by abuse of power or purposeful neglect. An assault to the senses, especially the heart. Black Lives Matter. Black lives will win.
So, for at least another year, you’ll find me still shaking it up and getting into trouble. My hope is for a 53rd year of rebuilding, personally, and an electoral year ending in the rebuilding of our broken system of politics, culminating in the renewal of a national vow to rebuild and anchor our broken social contract. Hope. Maybe.