I anticipate the coming of every new year, usually because I expect it to be the best yet. I must admit that 2012 was very difficult, and I look forward to 2013 mainly because this year will end.
The major problem this year has been our financial strain. It is no secret that the recession (read major depression) of 2008 depleted my nest egg to a level that changed our standard of living. We adjusted our budget, sold the big house and moved into town and into a small but comfortable place that should serve quite well for one or two people. That seemed to work until medical bills began to pile up. Having two chronic illnesses in a family takes its toll. I've been reminded again and again that the USA is unique among western nations in failure to provide adequate health coverage (read universal health care) for its citizens.
For most of the year I lived with the strain of knowing that if this country elected a Republican candidate, things were likely to get much worse. With the measures the GOP planned, I would need to sell my house and move to an apartment, it would end of my daughter's opportunity to complete a college education, and we'd suffer a lack of access to the expensive drugs that keep our household running.
Having a daughter who is a young woman now, I also dreaded the almost daily announcements coming from Republican lawmakers who were pushing to take away her right to equal pay, adequate preventive health measures, and her right to determine for herself when it was right and healthy to have a child. Politicians from the far right were calling her nasty names for being a woman and preventing fellow women from standing up to protect her-even women who were elected officials.
I felt all of this as I came to the realization that being African-American in this country was not as safe as I had come to believe. The racism was palpable during President Obama's entire first term, but worsened and became more open as he campaigned for a second.
The election is over, and we have breathed a collective sigh of relief - those of us who wanted good common sense and adherence to the principles this country was founded upon...those who accept diversity and abhor hatred...those who understand that basic services and rights for all citizens make a more productive, fair, prosperous nation.
The thing is, removing the immediate threat hasn't brought me back to my usual unstressed normal. At times it has felt like the end of the world, and the fatigue that follows a period of severe fear and anxiety doesn't recede with a single night's sleep.
So...I hope that the physical and mental exercise of writing "2013" will be therapeutic for me.