As 2011 comes to a close, I'm happy and sad at the same time. Most of all, I'm filled with hope and optimism. Yes, hope and optimism, even in these trying times.
I'm happy about some of the political developments I've seen, political awakenings among the have-nots -- the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement. I'm sad for the brilliant people we lost -- Professor Derrick Bell, Teena Marie, Heavy D, Amy Winehouse, Vesta. And I'm optimistic and filled with hope simply because of my garage.
My garage is a metaphor for me.
I started the process of cleaning out my garage back in August, and I didn't finish in time for winter as I had planned. In the process of going through over 30-plus years' worth of stuff, I came across old awards, grades, evaluations of me as a student and as a teacher, term papers, and columns I wrote when I was president of a minority bar association. One of my writing professors from a summer program I was in stated that I was a hard-working perfectionist who, in his estimation, would indeed reach perfection in her writing. Some of the evaluations from my law students stung, others inspired me. A letter of gratitude from a federal judge about whom I'd written a letter to the editor defending him and one of his most controversial decisions brought a smile to my face. I even found a treasure trove of piano books from my teen years, with pieces by Rachmaninoff and Chopin that I can barely read now but had mastered a long time ago. I've also discovered treasures large and small, pictures of long-lost friends, letters from deceased ones -- I even had a letter from Professor Derrick Bell saying that he had decided to move on from full-time law teaching to pursue his new passion -- writing. It buoyed my spirit.
It came to me that my garage is a metaphor for me. My garage, like me, holds hidden or forgotten treasures. Just as my garage houses unopened wedding presents, pictures, and all sorts of things that have the potential to make my still-unsettled house a home, I still hold the potential, hidden or forgotten, to reach goals I'd long ago given up or forgotten about on due to my age or lack of prior success, confidence, or focus.
So my one and only resolution for 2012 is to explore my hidden or forgotten potential and use it to reach goals I'd forgotten or given up on, even if I'm only taking small steps towards those goals.
Here's to my potential and yours, gentle readers. Happy New Year!