I tried to be honest with myself. After all, this decade contained a lot of events that, in and of themselves, not to mention collectively, could have painted my perception of the "aughts" (are we really going to call them that?) with a nasty negative perception. All significant life events that top the list of things that can stress people out:
- I turned 40 in this decade
- I found out I likely have high blood pressure
- We found out the military was moving us to a foreign country. While I was 7 months pregnant. And before I had a job in Germany.
- We moved again, courtesy of Uncle Sam, and I got to re-establish myself once more in another location.
- We found out the state of Georgia had put a monstrous tax lien on us based on inaccurate information - almost cost us the ability to buy a house in Seattle
- My husband got deployed to Iraq, leaving me to be a single mom for 8 months
- Our first au pair, hired to help me while he was gone, totaled our car (thankfully, without children in it)
- We lost a dear uncle of my husband's while he was in Iraq
- We lost my father-in-law, under horrible circumstances, a mere three days before DrChako was returned to us. It was up to me to deliver the news to his two grandsons, my sister-in-laws, and to my husband, as he waited in Kuwait for a transport home, once the Red Cross finally located him.
- DrChako's homecoming was a subdued affair in Florida, a day before his father's memorial.
- We spent the next few months integrating a husband, a father, and a man back into a life that had continued on without him for some time.
- DrChako left the military and we had to learn to live as civilians, where someone doesn't plan your life at each step.
- We lost years of savings in our investments in the stock market, due to the economic downturn.
- I lost my job of 15+ years for the same firm, due to economic pressures on our partnership structure. I had to deliver the message to my colleagues myself, as the firm took the "we're going to pretend this isn't happening" approach to explaining why all of my clients were being reassigned and why I wouldn't be there after June.
- I started a new job. Which required relocating the whole family to California.
- My husband still hasn't found a job down here, so he still lives in the Seattle area, and we are learning to live as a commuter family.
Save for maybe turning 40, all were significant events where numerous tears were shed. For those of you who know me well, you know that tears are a normal part of my reaction to significant events and strong emotions - love, anger, fear, joy, frustration. But the sheer emotional energy of these type of events could be crippling, if you let it.
Apparently I didn't let it. But then maybe its all about perspective.
I started the decade out happily married with one bright, inquisitive, and verbal toddler, living in our very first house, surrounded by friends and satisfied in my job. And last night, as we ended the decade, I was sitting on my couch with my husband, who is still my best friend, still takes the time to steal a peek at me naked in the shower, still compliments my cooking, and still looks appropriately stunned when I show up in a slinky formal dress and my Jimmy Choos. My children now numbered two, and they were happily tucked upstairs in our beautiful home, playing with each other and my oldest son's best friend - who we'd adopt in a heartbeat if we could. The bank account was flush, the cars were working well, and we had all of the material things we could need and most of what we could want (save maybe that Ferrari DrChako thinks is imminent in his future).
A little over two weeks ago, I just spent a great time with a bunch of you in Vegas. And I missed a bunch more of you who couldn't make it. And as last evening wound down, I smiled each time the good Dr. and I got a text or message from all of you, wishing us a great new year. And I was still smiling this morning when I found a couple more kisses and good wishes in the inbox.
At midnight, I kissed four of the most important men in my life. For all the tough spots this decade, I like how it started, and I can't complain about how it ended.
For those of you who can look back on the decade and be pleased with the outcome, may you continue to be blessed with good fortune and perpetual optimism. For those of you are hoping that the next decade blesses you more than the past one did, I hope the same for you.
May I end the next decade with family and friends as close I as I did this decade.