Year’s End

It’s traditional that once a year we take stock of what has passed and what role we have played, good or bad, in all the events and experiences of the year just finishing.  For many this time is at the end of the Roman calendar, the time between Christmas and New Year.  It’s holiday time, full of friends and family and for most, good cheer.  Since my birthday is in January, the end of the year is also a beginning.  For some, however, it’s a time of anxiety, grief or regret over what was lost during the preceding twelve months.  We assess what we’ve accomplished, what might have gone better, what we would sooner forget.  Sometimes our year might seem like a miserable dream; and we’d like to throw those memories away somewhere.

The past year I’m surveying gets a mixed review.  As Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”  It began with promise, moved to ill-considered, plummeted into heart-break, necessitating major life changes, then shifted to new opportunities and is ending again with promise, although different from what I initially hoped for at the beginning of the year.

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

 Along the way many lessons were learned (never combine love and work.)  The last thing I wanted was a string of “growth experiences,” though “grow” I did.  Left turns only revealed themselves as positive in hindsight.

On balance, the best outweighed the worst.  This was a hard conclusion to reach and I surprise myself saying it. New people came into my life whose trust, caring and support proved truer and longer lasting than those on whom I had placed my faith at the beginning of the year.  Old friends stepped in to offer safe harbors.  New friends were made. The strength of friends and fellowship was overwhelming. New work emerged with fascinating potential.  A new city was explored.  New skills were learned.  My connection with my sons grew ever stronger.  And I realized my affection for a place was greater than the sad associations remembered through the lens of a former shared experience. San Francisco welcomed me home.

The year was a progression of peaks and valleys, and while the hockey stick curve didn’t emerge, it’s in the making.  2011 planted the seeds of 2012 opportunity.

Life is how we interpret our experience.  It’s not an objective reality that exists outside our consciousness. There’s always a choice.  We can choose to be happy.  Or not.  We can choose to see ourselves as successful.  Or not.  We can accept the world as it is.  Or not.  We can accept people as they are.  Or not.

Understanding the dangers inherent in all the “or nots” is how we grow up and keep from drowning.


We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

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  1. Buoyant, caring and multi-talented are the words that pop into my head about the positively evolving you amazing Niland. I trust that 2012 will be a great adventure for you and the friends and projects that you have pulled into your life

  2. Michelle Coleman

     /  December 28, 2011

    Thank you for the insight…even though I haven’t had heart break, I have seen what my life would be like without your cousin and I can’t imagine that life. We are living life to the fullest and continue to remember that is important…God, Bob, family…

  3. nilandmortimer

     /  December 28, 2011

    Thanks Kare. Buoyant perhaps not so often. I look forward to you being part of the 2012 adventure. Onward & upward!

  4. I loved reading this. I love being a part of your life.

  5. nilandmortimer

     /  December 29, 2011

    Thanks Bruce. You’re the “old friend” I refer to here.


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