Because the new year often is a time for reflection on the old one, and because a friend was asking about high and low points for 2012, I was prompted to review my own personal bests and worsts from the year gone by.
And man, did it go by fast. Is that a function of getting older? It really does seem like just a couple of weeks ago that we were getting cranked up on 2012, and here we are a week into 2013 already.
In any event, here are what I think were my personal best and worst moments of 2012:
5. Running in my first race, the Run for Aimee 5K, in June, and later running my first 10K, the Jingle Jam, in December. This was a huge, big honkin’ deal for me, because it was my rejection of a sedentary lifestyle. Next: Building up (mostly the nerve) for a half-marathon.
4. Delivering the sermon at Church of the Holy Comforter. The Rev. Dr. Cindy Taylor, a dear, sweet person and a good friend, entrusted me with her pulpit in her absence. That was an incredible, humbling experience.
3. Winning the top prize in Georgia for column-writing in our newspaper category from The Georgia Press Association, and then winning the non-daily commentary award from Morris Communications.
2. Auditioning to sing the National Anthem at an Augusta GreenJackets game. They didn’t pick me, but the important part was getting up the nerve to stand on the baseball field and belt out one of the toughest songs to sing. My daughter said I did OK, so that’s good enough for me.
1. My middle daughter’s graduation from Valdosta State University in December, with a job already in hand, and my youngest daughter’s graduation from Lakeside High School in May. The latter was a bittersweet moment because it represented the first time in 20 years that one of my children wasn’t a student in a Columbia County public school.
And because we have to take the bad with the good, here are my five worsts of 2012:
5. The yawn of response to the request to name the new park behind Lakeside High School in memory of Ryan Clark. On behalf of the family of Clark, the first person killed in the Virginia Tech massacre five years ago, I asked the county commission and school board to name the park after the Lakeside graduate. I haven’t gotten a “no” from either – but I’ve gotten no formal response at all, which is almost worse.
4. Empty nesting. With my oldest out in her own home, my middle-daughter moving to a job in Atlanta and my youngest gone off to college, my wife and I – and our menagerie of animals – sometimes seem to just rattle around inside a house built for three more people.
3. Hernia surgery. Not fun, of course, but at least I managed to make a positive experience from the unwanted procedure (other than the obvious: having the repair) by being forced to slow down for a week.
2. Deaths: My uncle O’Neil Martin, right at Christmas, hit hardest. But there was also Sandra “Goose” Ferrell, my sister-in-law’s mother, and Tommy Mercer, and Buddy Hendry, and Gary Blanchard, and Conrad Fink, and Floyd Brown, among others. They were all kind, generous people whose departures left gaping holes in the world.
1. The discovery of Deborah Marshall’s brain tumor, and her subsequent absence from public life. I love Debbie, as does everyone who knows her, and her debilitating and frightening illness has been devastating and casts a shadow well into 2013.
What were your high and low points of the year? Even if your 2012 was pretty good, I hope 2013 is even better. And if it was a rough one, then surely 2013 will be an improvement.