Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Let’s Get The H$LL Outta Here!

Merry Mercury Retrograde.

Go ahead. If it makes you feel superior, like you’re different from all the rest of us superstitious idiots who insist on seeing meaning in the patterns around us, deny it. Don’t admit that your life goes topsy-turvy in an especially effed up way whenever Hermes backtracks to call bullshit on all the stuff that requires refining in your world.

Get back at me on the 18th of January and tell me that dealing with travel, technology, contracts, or communication wasn’t a circus since the Solstice. I’ll wait.

I’ll have to, since these cycles always usher in a reason or two, or three, to sit down, regroup, implement plans b, c, d, or just… chill.

Personally, I don’t fight it. I might cuss through the entire period, but I welcome it, because like any other cycle in life, it’s a reason to reflect, improve, and just enjoy being.

Even though we had to wait an extra seven hours to leave Bimini on our recent cruise, because high winds posed a threat to everyone’s safety;

Even though having the flu left me in bed for one week and at 50% body capacity for another;

Even though that same flu has prevented my dad from traveling to be with us this Christmas;

Even though a winter storm delayed my brother’s arrival from Italy by a day, and delayed my mom by a week so that she’ll now have to see us AFTER Christmas…

I’m thankful, because when life gets like this, it reminds me that I’m not completely in control. And that takes a load off my fucking shoulders.

Despite record challenges, I’ve been having some very good times this year. I traveled with old friends and made new ones in Barbados and Puerto Rico. I had a 41st birthday bash in the summer where me, my friends, and some really cool neighbors had an epic water gun fight.

I finally had the covers to my two novels updated, and I’m very happy with the results.  Plus, I had my first speaking engagement.

My dad came to my rescue in ways that he never has, and for the first time in my life, I really felt like his “little girl”. We’ve had some pretty awesome and authentic conversations over the last year, too. He doesn’t rush off the phone to get back to the game or to one of his girlfriends like he used to. I get at least a good 20 minutes on almost every call, and lemme tell ya, that’s progress!

It seems my son is sprouting a new chin hair every other day—he’s such a good sport every time I tease him about it. And I almost thought the day would never come when my baby girl wouldn’t sound like an elf over the phone anymore. Yet, she called me from their dad’s house the other day and, for the first time, I heard her young lady voice.

For me, this year gave new meaning and power to that old beloved scripture, Psalm 23:

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for I’m the meanest mother fucker in the val—”

Hold up. I think I’m slipping into Bruce Horton’s Force Recon Diary. Forgive my digression. If you and I share a similar sense of humor, maybe you get the point.

Tough times (hell, all times) require a mixture of the sacred and profane, tough-spiritedness and grace, grit and gratitude, and that enduring joy of the Lord that they say gives us strength. This ain’t about wearing fake smiles and pretending everything’s okay or drowning so deeply in reality that we insist on being miserable. It’s about riding the waves of whatever life gives us and figuring out how to surf. You get wiped out—a lot—but eventually, hopefully, you enjoy some sunshine and just glide.

If you pay attention, you may even see a few dolphins rolling by waiting to help you find your way ashore, if you need it…

I’m done trying to wax philosophical and forcing analogies for now. I’ll be back some time after the new year to drum up more inspiration and reasons to get out of bed in the morning. For now, I wish you happiness in whatever holidays or moments you choose to honor. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Now let’s get the hell outta here!

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