2011: Smile because it happened

“Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.
—Dr. Seuss

The December page of my kitchen calendar bears this quote from Dr. Seuss. I grimaced when I read it because, for me and many of my acquaintances, 2011 is a year well left behind.

As 2011 progressed, challenging event piled on top of challenging event. The spring, summer and fall blur in my mind. Every day was a balancing act of deciding which pressing matter to deal with and which to neglect for another day. The steady sequence of one thing after another and the relentless pressure baffled me. I even considered consulting astrological charts to see if there was some explanation from beyond in the planetary alignment in the heavens.

I thought it was just me.

But then I started to hear it from my friends. Time after time I heard, “I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve so I can put 2011 behind me.” So many people I know faced unusually difficult health challenges, losses in the family, or unwelcome job changes in 2011. It was a crushing year for many people.

We want to do the opposite of what Dr. Seuss advises: cry because it happened, and smile because it’s over.

This goes against my optimistic personality. I don’t want to wish my life away. So I will have to seek and find the positive that came out of the events of 2011. And I can do that, for personal growth comes out of the trials and challenges in our lives. I’ve learned a lot.

It’s easy to take Dr. Seuss’s advice not to cry because it’s over; I am so very glad that 2011 is behind me. It’s a little harder to smile because it happened. But I will tilt my mind in that direction. Challenging as it was, I’m a better, stronger person now.

Happy New Year, and may 2012 bring many blessings and personal growth in only small, manageable doses.

2 thoughts on “2011: Smile because it happened

  1. Joanne

    this comes to me at the right time Arlene. I too have spent much of 2011 thinking ‘what now’. And just recently, to finish the year, Emile’s mom was hospitalized with a serious blood infection and heart problem. We were unsure if we would lose her before Christmas. With much prayer and medical help, she is on the mend and was even released from hospital today. So instead of crying because it happened and be glad it is over, I will look for the ‘smile because it happened’, it is a wake up call for her to take better care of herself, and her family to check on her more often. And we are definitely glad it is over. There is some good that has come out of this, in that after 4 years without a family doctor, she has finally found one. One of the GP’s visiting her own mother in the hospital heard about Maria, and came and told her and the family that she will take her on as a new patient. This was the silver lining on an otherwise cloudy day.

    1. Arlene Post author

      I saw your Facebook status and knew something was up. That’s always tough around the holidays. I’m glad things are looking more positive. Happy 2012!


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