On the last day of 2011, it’s only natural to reflect on the year. Where did the time go? Weren’t we just complaining about 100 degree days in June? Guess what, by the time we blink twice we’ll be complaining about 100 degree days in June again. I’ve always heard people talk about how the older you get the quicker time flies. I absolutely believe it. I look at my two sons, ages 23 and 21 and on one hand it seems they should still be in middle school with me shuttling them between football, soccer and baseball practices on a daily basis. But then I look at the handsome, responsible young men they’ve become and I think wow, they may actually make someone a decent husband some day. Some day, far, far away in the future. I joke about never knowing what an empty nest will feel like because they are never moving out! Reality is, they’re really nice to have around. They know how to carry a conversation whether about politics, religion, or of course, sports. They are polite. They help out at home. They will still be seen in public with us (when we pay, of course.)
In review, 2011 has been at times a very challenging year, but if life were always easy, what fun would it be? I had many career highlights this year. I had the opportunity to speak at the annual ASMBS conference. Twice I went to DC with the Obesity Action Coalition to speak with our legislators about the dire need for inclusion of obesity prevention AND treatment in the Essential Benefits Package. I spoke at one of the Health and Human Services listening sessions on the same topic. Most exciting for me, the Board of Directors of the OAC elected me to become the new Chairperson beginning tomorrow! I take a lot of satisfaction from my career. It’s never failed that on a day when I was tired, frustrated, and wondering, “Why am I doing all of this? What’s the point? No one cares, no one understands, UGH!” I would receive an email, a call or see a post on Facebook from one of our patients about how much I had helped them. I think we all know it means the world to us when someone takes the time to say thank you and truly mean it, so why don’t we say it more often?
One of the more challenging times this year was when we had to put our 12 year old Chow mix, Tubby to sleep. He had developed the canine equivalent of Parkinson’s and his health and quality of life went downhill quickly. The day I took him to the Williamson County Animal Hospital for the last time was one of the saddest in my life. While I know there was no other option (he was to the point we had to carry him outside to use the bathroom), I still felt like I was murdering my best friend. I stayed with him the whole time and I hope that brought him some comfort. The people at the hospital were so very kind to both of us. Tubby was a pound puppy. I love pound puppies. I went straight from the animal hospital to the pound and nearly walked out with six dogs and three puppies…so, I decided that wasn’t the best time to adopt! Instead we waited three weeks and went to the MARS Petcare adoption day where we adopted Geordie (the cute one on the left with the red and white jingle bells around his neck) from Bonaparte’s Retreat. He is a one year old Scottie/Basset/Lab mix. Basically, 46 pounds of love wrapped up in black fur. When Geordie came to us he was house broken, crate trained, very intelligent and extremely adorable. We call him our rotten-wiler because he is quite literally spoiled rotten.
Earlier this week I was on Geordie’s Facebook page (yes, that’s correct and no, I don’t have a life) when I saw this adorable 4 year old Cocker Spaniel on the Tennessee Death Row Dogs page. He was at the Montgomery County shelter and on “the list.” Not the good list, you know the one. We were already discussing getting Geordie a brother or sister next year and this little guy tugged at our heart strings so all three of us went to check him out and well he came home with us that day. Dillard (new name pending) is the cute ball of fluff on the right. We call him our rotty-wiler because well, we’ve only had him 48 hours and he’s already getting spoiled rotten. He’s 4 years old, house broken, 24 pounds of fluff. Honestly, it’s like snuggling with a moving bag of cottonballs.
The point of this rambling post? It’s December 31st. At times 2011 was a crappy year. I could focus on that, drown my sorrows in as much sugar as my bypass will allow, hang my head, hide under the covers, become pessimistic and miserable OR I can re-read this post and think about how this is just a fraction of the great things that happened in 2011. And honestly, is there anyway to look at the two adorable fluff balls in that picture and not smile? They think I am the greatest thing on the planet and I know they are.
As you reflect on your version of 2011, cut yourself some slack for any shortcomings, pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments, thank those who mean the world to you, smile at those who don’t, get over the negative and focus on your highlights. Enjoy the evening, celebrate life and the entrance of 2012.
See you next year!