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I don’t know about you but, I do the same thing at the end of every year!  Unfortunately, this includes waxing a little sad.  You see, it’s that time again.  It’s time for me to review the outgoing year, with as much honesty as I can muster!!  From the negative to the positive, I try to take an objective look in my mirror and assess what I have accomplished, who I have hurt, what I could have done better, etc!!

Yes, I said “try” because all you can do is try.  Mind you, I don’t beat up on myself or anything like that.  But, if I am minimally honest, I normally need to issue at least two to three apologies!

With any luck, the recipients will be unreachable!  LOL!

In the event that they are reachable, I contact them and just get it over with as quickly as possible.

Admittedly, apologies don’t come easy for me.  I guess if we are even remotely honest, not many people like to apologize.  We’d rather be the recipient of an apology.  However, I have found out it can be very medicinal, humbling and cleansing to your soul.

I try to tread lightly since I never know how the recipient of my apology is going to respond. Sometimes, the recipient didn’t even anticipate an apology from me at all.  Sometimes, I have to remind the individual of what happened and why I am apologizing—which somewhat diminishes either my remaining guilt or the impact of the groveling.  Other times, they are extremely grateful because I took the lead.  Occasionally, my apology is not accepted.

Sometimes, the individual I contact owes me an apology too.  Sometimes—if I’m very lucky—they reciprocate.  Sometimes—more often than not—they don’t.   Sometimes a friendship is saved.  Sometimes, a relationship is lost.  Whatever the outcome, I try to remember that I am only responsible for my half of any relationship.

So, I do it.  I apologize.  I do this not because I am a martyr, but because I just gotta be happy with myself.  I guess my reasons for apologizing are somewhat selfish.  You see, I gotta be able to respect who I am.  I gotta be able to close out yet another year without dragging the old year into the new one.  I gotta be able to close out the year without further ado and without regrets.

At the end of the day, I wanna be able to look in that mirror—gotta be able to look into that mirror—so, at the very least, I can review the coming year with less and less to apologize for.  Maybe next year, I’ll be calling just to say Hello!

Can anybody hear me?

There is something in the air that I just cannot quite put my finger on; a vague disquieting feeling that makes everything just a little out of focus. Oh, I know what it is: It’s that everybody seems so miserable.

I don’t care who they are, where they work or what capacity they work in, their gender, orientation, religion or class, they are all miserable, just the same.

The pain shows on their faces, in their movements and actions as well as in their inability to be kind or helpful to others, even when it is within their power.

It feels like they are too mired in their own suffering to concern themselves with anyone else’s…or maybe they’re just unwilling to assist someone else in feeling better when they feel so bad. After I am kind to them in spite of themselves, everything comes pouring out! It all comes flowing to the forefront like an erupting volcano!

I cannot tell you how many times someone is treating me harshly, while I am ignoring the abrasiveness and continuing with the conversation in a pleasant matter, when they suddenly begin to tell me their deepest secrets!

Stranger concept at work maybe? That could be true in one or two cases but, for the most part, it’s not applicable. You see, some—in fact, most—of these people are not strangers. They are neighbors, coworkers, family members, the mailman, the bus driver, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, etc. They are fully aware that they will see me again. However, at that moment, they cease to care.   They need relief.

I get to hear all about their feelings of failure as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a son, a father, a brother, a sister, and a person.

I get to hear about their fears, hurts, disappointments, family problems, health problems, job woes and regrets.

The voices, the faces and the problems all differ, but they all seem to have one thing in common: They seem to be in search of/need someone to let them know that all is not lost…that it’s gonna be okay…that nobody is perfect.

In spite of my own desire to bury my past under a layer of concrete, I find myself discussing my trials and tribulations (past and present) just to let them know they are not alone. Sometimes reliving it is painful but, if it helps somebody, I do it anyway. I just want them to know that I really do understand what they are going through.

Some people just want you to listen. They don’t want criticism or advice. They just want your ear without judgment.

I try to provide that too though I struggle with knowing when to give what. If I continue to care about people the way I do, I’m sure I’ll master it sooner or later.

Still, I don’t seem to be making any progress on getting exactly WHY everyone is so sad. I haven’t even figured that out for myself.

Can anybody hear me?