01 January 2009

Calm Down People! Change Is Good!

So here it is, dear readers, 2009! A whole new year laid out in front of us in all its glory! Breathe deep, suck in a lungful, smell that? Smells like hope, looks like a brand new fresh field of snow on a bright, sunny day with an impossibly beautiful blue sky overhead. I envision one of those photos often seen in National Geographic in articles about K2 or Mt. Everest: the ones showing a goggle-clad, grinning face in close up with the snow covered moutains beyond, and the rim of the world in the viewfinder. I know Braja might have some quibbles with my choice of the Himalayas (sorry about them chilly winds, my dear), but the image resonates with me.

The last 5 years have been one hell of a climb for me. My life has been filled with personal tragedy, deep identity and spiritual crises, near lethal stress levels and (lately) sudden unemployment. I am exhausted. I am so worn out I could pull my own Rip Van Winkle act without a qualm.

A steep climb, indeed. I think of it as having scaled my own personal Sagarmatha ("Head Of The Sky" in Nepali) maybe without even knowing it. I have arrived at the top tired, sunburned, dirty and amazingly enough, hopeful. It was hell to get here, but the view! One cannot help but be in awe at the magnificence spread out before you.

Things are different for me now. Hope was never my strong suit, even when things really weren't that bad. Quite frankly, I have more reasons now to just dive into the pool of despair. On the bad days, I am sorely tempted to do just that. So what is the difference now? I suppose it is perspective that I have now. Perspective won at tremendous cost, and that I am not going to give back; it means too much.

For now, I'll sit here on the top of the world and meditate on the horizon. I'll draw in some deep lungfuls of thin air that I imagine smells (at least faintly) of iron and stone, and clear my turbulent mind of everything, just for a little while. Somewhere, some wheels are turning, the cycle has begun anew. I'll fly my tattered prayer flag and start down the mountain, ready for anything, expecting of nothing, looking for my jewel in the lotus.


(Postscript: New year, new look. It WAS time for a change after all. I already knew it, hadn't decided yet, and Lady Braja nudged me into it. A heartfelt thanks to her for the advice!)


  1. 2009 is going to be great for a lot of us. Cuz the past couple years have sucked. It HAS to be a great year! And a Happy New Year to you Irish Gumbo!

  2. Oh, IG. I wish you all the best (including some sort of money making job/career/dream that you will be happy with). Happy New Year (again!)

  3. Oh, it's HOPE! Thank God. I sucked in a lungful and thought it was DESPAIR. ;)

    Happy New Year, IG! I'm looking for my lotus jewel too.

    BTW: SECOND!!!!

  4. Crap. Third. And fourth. (I think.)

  5. Oh, what the heck. Fifth. Just to start the New Year off right. :D

  6. what makes you such a joy to read, even when you are in despair, is the twist you add, no matter how small. In this instance, a deep, insightful essay, preceeded by the iconic 2001 opening - dawn of a new something or other...and then inimitable IG tag line "open the pod doors hal, i hafta pee." Classic. Thanks for getting it started in the right direction for us ALL. Cheers!

  7. They serve a decent Black 'n Tan up on that hill?

  8. Here's hoping you find everything you're looking for. Wishing you all the best!

  9. Gumby...If anyone could Rip their own Van Winkle with style, it would be you.
    Change is both frightening and exciting! My contribution to your financial success...get somebody to invent squeezy peanut butter in a can (like that cheez-whiz stuff.) You'll be rich!

  10. When you said, "smell that?"

    I thought you were going to say, "I think it's Charmaine". hee hee

    We have had similar years, yes indeed!!

  11. Mmmmmmm, black and tans.

    Ok, I may be behind, but what's with the bear, Irish? Cute, but I need background.

    And I am in favor of some hope this new year...

  12. I dig your perspective. I'm approaching 2009 in a hopeful way, that it will kick 2008's sucky ass and everything will be peaches in cream. Let's hope it turns out that way!

  13. I'm stopping by to introduce myself. I've heard such good things about you and just wanted to check you out for myself. Captain Dumbass practically professed his love, so anyone who's won the affection of his cold, Canadian heart, must surely be good people. I hope your 2009 is a good one. I have a feeling, for me, it's gonna suck big time. Nice to meet ya!

  14. Hope is a many splendored thing.. may you never lose sight of what's good. ;)

    Damn.. that mountain was a BITCH, no?

    hey, I have a song for you.. one of my favorites these days.. there's a video on my blog. check the archive for MxPx - You're on Fire. it was in November. :)

  15. Good luck to you in 2009. You deserve the best. I like the new layout but...no fair movin' the Guinness without a little heads up!

  16. Who me?

    Om mani padme hum to you to. The view is good up there, non?

  17. I love the look. In the dark times (like the year that we shall never speak of again), I always remember the words of Leonard Cohen... "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
    Here's to hope and a better year ahead :)

  18. Happy New Year! I've tagged you in my blog. Come check it out: http://nakedopinions.blogspot.com/

    I've enjoyed yours so far.

  19. "...I'm ready for the clean lines of January. Maybe some snow. A renewed sense of energy and purpose." I read that on Apathy Lounge a few days ago and can't shake it, "the clean lines of January." It's a new year, a clean slate. Time to remake yourself, friend, just like your site.

  20. PS. Thank you for subtly pointing out I'd spelt husqvarna wrong in my post. Might have been exiled for that.

  21. Hello. I came by via the Mister and ChurchPunkMom to see what the ruckus was all about.

    And what do you know? I found my friend Steenky over here, too, introducing herself. She's really lovely, despite her Debbie Downer comment. Swing back over to her place, call her a few names (she specifies the ones she likes in her sidebar) and she'll be tons o'fun.

  22. Go for it Irish - keep hope burning. Keep it bright and keep writing. Are good/happy times the only times worth remembering/having? Aren't we enriched by all the experiences/times we have in our lives? Good, bad or indifferent? All the best for 2009.

  23. IG, keep up the good fight. Change is good. 2008 was a hell of a year for most people, here's hoping that 2009 will be better.

  24. ride it out rainbow brother! i'm rockin the same perspective boat from my part of the world :)

    xoxox(that's irish for a honeyed wiskeyed laden hug and kiss)

  25. I stepped outside and breathed deep. My hope has a little smog in it, but a good rain always clears that up nicely.

  26. The new look is fantastic. My eyes appreciate the white background! (Side note: It sucks getting old.)

  27. Keep it positive and good luck!!

  28. 24@Heart: We’re about due so I am looking forward. HNY!

    Mama Dawg: Thank ye! A tall order, that, but I think I am closing in on it.

    Goodfather: Sometimes the difference between a lungful of hope and a lungful of despair is the number of bugs you suck in. Here’s to no bugs!

    SSP: *blush* Thank you! All part of the mystery that is me, I think. Just doing my part to get the karma train rollin’!

    IB: The Black ‘n Tans are mighty tasty up here, and always chilled. The perfect application of ‘draught in a can’!

    Robin: This time I plan to enjoy the ‘looking’ just as much as the finding. Mwah!

    Sweet Cheeks: Thank you! Peanut butter in a can! I’ll race you to the patent office!

    Charmaine: There may have been a faint whiff of turkey in the air…but turkey would be delish after a steady diet of jerky and power drinks, slogging up that mountain. (hugs)

    Ashley: I’ll set one out for you. The bear? His name is ‘Pants’, and he went with me to Boston in May 2008. I took pics of him around town and e-mailed some to my Wee Lass. I may be issuing a ‘Pants The Bear’ story series later…

    Casey: Mahvelous! And peaches in cream…yeah, man, summer is on the way!

    Steenky Bee: Pleased to meet you! Thank you for dropping in. The Captain’s heart is easy to melt, if you know the right things to say…not that we’re pickin’ out curtains together or anything ;)

    CPM: I’m trying not to curse the mountain too much; sort of like criticizing the sky for being blue or fire for being hot. Still, the occasional epithet does slip out…The song (!) – I checked it out. Amazing , plus I left you a comment! :0

    TextImps: Thank you, and may you have good luck in ’09 also! Sorry about the stout, I should know better than to move someone’s drink without telling them…

    Braja: The ‘black blogs’ comment was so well timed, I felt it would be foolish to ignore the sign. The view – Breathtaking!

    Michelle: Thanks, my intuition was correct on changing the template. Love the Leonard Cohen quote!

    Wild Child: Well, hello! Thank you for the eyes on the page! I’ll stop by as soon as I can…

    Captain Dumbass: That is a wonderful quote, and very architectural. The remake was due. And the Husqvarna thing? The typo hadn’t really registered with me, I’m such a geek, I was actually reeling off the names of other saw makers in my head (Poulan, Stihl, B & D…) (sigh) as I was commenting.

    Pamela: How do, ma’am! I hope it was a quiet ruckus. Thanks for the eyes on! And just to make sure, you are The Mister’s Missus? As in Mrs. Mister? Or nowadays should I say Ms. Mister? Or how about Ms. Pamela? Ah, I’m so confused, I’ll stop now. Oh, I saw Victor Wooten in your profile: small world! I was recently into’d to his music by a former colleague who is a huge fan. Amazing stuff!

    Henry: It has taken me years to get that through my head. Spanish philosopher name of Ortega y Gasset said “I am myself plus my circumstances”. That blew me away when I first read it over 20 years ago, but I didn’t get it until recently. Better late than never!

    Kat: I will! I gots the fire in the belly now, just have to keep it stoked. And I should add, your latest post gave me a new insight, and a whole lot of respect for what servicemen and servicewomen do, along with the commitment and sacrifices. Amazing!

    MIW: Slickers on and hand on the tiller! Honey and whiskey is alright with me…

    Laura J: The smog is for that little frisson to point up the good stuff! Thank you for the visit and the follow. I’ll stop by your pad as soon as I can!

    Momo Fali: Glad you like it! And getting old? You? No way! ;)

    Laufa: The mission is underway! Thank you and blessings to you and yours!

  29. Good luck in 2009...I plan on becoming an obsessive stalker...just a warning. :)

    Sounds like you have your head in the right place to start the year!

  30. You're headed in the right direction and I know that 2009 will bring nothing but positive your way but just in case you might want to consider my motto - be prepared for the worst but hope for the best!!!

    (((HUGS))) And I will take a pint of Guiness, haven't had a good beer in a long time!!!

  31. I'm starting 2009 with a reduced paycheck, recovery from surgery, and mounds of debt to the medical community. I think I'll go back to bed and nap until 2010.

  32. Is the dawn of 2009 the right time to morph into Indian Gumbo?

  33. Yup, more changes are coming too. I empathize with your 2008, and I am glad it has ended. I'll be embracing 2009 (see my blog on that note). Maybe this is just a little bit of darkness before the bright dawn. Ya think?

    Happy New Year!


  34. I'm all about the hope, or at least I am going to try to be.

  35. SM: Thank you, same to you. As I just recently found my head, I am hoping it is in the right place. And I consider myself warned ;)
    Krystal: I don’t know where I’ll end up, but going this way sure feels right. *clink* Slainte!

    Grant: Very sorry about the medical difficulties, not exactly the best way to get things going. Maybe that nap will set you up right!

    Robert: Indian Gumbo? Oh, man, some interesting possibilities there! Perhaps with some lamb…

    Fragrant Liar: Some darkness helps us to appreciate the light. A lot of things pale before the glory of new sunrise! I’ll stop by as soon as I can!

    Shonda: It is always important to try, because as they say, not trying is guaranteed failure. Salut!

  36. Hey there Irish..
    Loved this perspective. I know for me, this past year has been hell in some respects.
    We've had deaths happen in the family. I watched an innocent man be accused of something he did not do and a jury say it was so even with all the evidence to the contrary.
    I've not lost my job, but even that has been an up and down struggle because of the type of business we run, sometimes you wondered if you'd even get a check at the end of the week.
    There have been times I've wondered, "God, are you even there?"

    And then there was one bright spot out of the whole year.

    I guess that was the best for my 2008.

    Here's hoping 2009 WILL be better!

  37. BEW:

    Thank you for your kind words. I feel for you, it has been that kind of year. I hope this helped.

    And your bright spot? What is it, if you don't mind me asking?


  38. Ok, I am officially hooked! You inspire me to take charge of the new year and make it better. I'll be back. I'm unemployed, too, so I have lots of time to read :)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...