A few weeks ago I mailed out Christmas cards. It’s something I’ve done for about a decade now, mailing out cards to close friends and random strangers. (Last year, for instance, Harlan Ellison received a card from me. Since I’m writing this, it clearly didn’t displease him.) I usually have a “main” design that goes to a limited number of close friends, and then the other cards are a little more varied.
This year’s main design was awesome. It was also expensive, so I didn’t buy many. Before the cards arrived in the mail, I made up a list of my friends who I thought deserved the card. Then I started to pare it back because my list was longer than the number of cards I was to receive. Tough decisions were made.
When the cards arrived in the mail, I discovered they had little room inside to write!
This, of course, posed a problem as I liked to write little notes in the cards I sent out to personalize them. I decided, instead, to write a Christmas letter.
I don’t have a copy of the Christmas letter with me, unfortunately — it was something I wrote at work on a slack afternoon two weeks before Christmas. But I remember — roughly — how it began. And this is sort of what I said…
I’m a baseball fan, and I’m one of those people who think that baseball describes life. If baseball described my life, then 2011 was a rebuilding year. When it began, no one had great expectations for the year, but it wasn’t bad as it progressed. It had its requisite victories and its inevitable setbacks, its thrilling moments and and its drudgery. But then, midway through the year, life dealt a blow, and even though it wasn’t unexpected, it was still a blow, and it took a little time to regroup and figure out a new direction. Down the stretch, things looked up, some promise was shown, and the year ended on some hopeful notes that bode well for the future. A rebuilding year, then.
And as a Chicago Cubs fan, if I don’t have hope, then I don’t have anything.
There are a lot of things I’m going to remember about 2011, and it’s difficult to say today what I’ll remember the most. There are bad memories in 2011, true, but there are also a lot of good memories, and the things that stand out for me are simpler things. Things like traveling, which is something I hadn’t really done in several years. I went by train to Raleigh in August, I drove to New Jersey in November, I saw Philadelphia briefly. Not earth-shattering things, but they were memorable and important nonetheless.
I’m really thinking about 2012. Not in the “Mayan end of the world” kind of way, not in the “Presidential election” kind of way. In a personal kind of way. In the “these are the things I want to do,” “these are the things I want to see,” “these are the things I want to accomplish” kind of way.
And yes, LEGO Lord of the Rings is a part of that.
But there are bigger ideas, too. And hopefully, I’ll figure out how to make them all work.
After all, the whole point of a rebuilding year in baseball is to make yourself better for the next season.