I love the time immediately before New Years, with all of its "Best of" lists, reflection, and resolutions. If you're not careful, it can overwhelm you, particularly with the question "What have you done with your time?", but if you can keep up with the tide it is a chance to set your feet for the next wave.
Last year started with the loss of my grandmother. It was expected, as much as these things can be expected, but still hurt. I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on her life within these pages and share that with all of you. You helped me get to the other side of all of that with the satisfaction and rectitude sought after in the loss of a loved one.
Then the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Purple was my grandmothers favorite color, so the two things connected in some weird cosmic way. Every game was a prayer to Mom Mom and every win, a wink. Looking back at my post after that win, I noticed the line "All of us should use our good mood to do something good." It is a good summary of how that felt - overflowing, irrational happiness.
Later that month, the Columbia Association Board of Directors passed the Inner Arbor Plan and Trust 8-2. This has been the highlight of my community service, which, as always, shines brightest because of all of the energy the rest of you put into it. We did something big, long-lasting, and unlikely. The "unlikely" part is what history will forget. Future Columbians may never know that another plan, with cruciform paths and a circle around it, had been the undisputed front-runner all the way up until the end of 2012. But the future shifted.
I am sure many things happened between February and May, but in my recollection of 2013 it runs together. In May, I lost my friend Dennis. It is probably better to refer to this point in time with plural terms like "we", but that's not how I experienced it. And unlike losing my grandmother, I can't say I've come to the other side of this one.
In June, I kicked off my campaign for Delegate. This had been in the works for some time before losing Dennis, but I consider it a blessing that I had something so all-encompassing to commit myself to during this time.
Running for office has been an experience unlike anything else I've known. Some parts are so unusual (and downright silly) that you just stop being surprised. Other parts are so fulfilling and enlivening that you wonder why you ever thought of letting this opportunity pass. But as with any great trial, a campaign puts your best and worst traits on display. When I trained for my first marathon, I felt completely in-tune and aware of my physical self. The slightest tendon pull was felt throughout my entire body. This campaign has done the same thing for my mind. Anger, doubt, fear, arrogance, recklessness -- all of these things can be studied if you are forced to look for them.
Now here we are. Back to the time of "Best of" lists, reflection, and resolutions. 2013 took more from me than I took from it, but I don't plan to allow 2014 the same opportunity.
In closing, I would like to share a poem I've gleaned from my holiday read Theodore Rex (I came around to this one late) that should put you in the right mood for a new year. It was one of President Roosevelt's favorites:
Opportunity by John J. Ingalls
Master of human destinies am I;
Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk. I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and, passing by
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late,
I knock unbidden once at every gate.
If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise, before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death; but those who hesitate
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
Seek me in vain, and uselessly implore.
I answer not, and I return no more.
Have a great Monday doing what you love! And if I don't see you before then, have a Happy New Year!