The start of a new year — a new decade, even — is upon us. Cue the confetti.
In the coming year, I intend to do my best to remain positive in an ever uglier world, despite my growing cynicism. I also intend to keep smiling at people around me and performing random acts of kindness.
But I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions.
I made one last December in this space, and I meant it at the time. But some changes occurred in my life early this year, and as a result I no longer considered that action important; so I did not follow through on it.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Shift happens!
Each new year since I turned 50 (and probably even before that) has brought at least one fundamental shift to my life — some voluntary, others not so much. Each one involved a change in my world view, redirecting my focus:
• In 2015 I was laid off from a job I loved in Arizona by my employer of nearly 20 years, forcing me outside my long-established comfort zone and into a labor pool full of much younger swimmers.
• In 2016 I moved to North Dakota to take a new job. I met a lot of wonderful people there, but by the end of that year I’d had quite enough of the mind-numbing work and the face-numbing cold. So, when I got the call from The Daily World in December, I was ready for another shift.
• In 2017 I came to Grays Harbor for yet another fresh start. Everything about it was different from any other place I’d lived. It was scary as hell — but it was also awesome, because I loved my new job and community.
• In 2018 I held my mom as she succumbed to cancer — an experience that left a gaping hole in my heart, but strengthened my soul in ways I can’t begin to describe. I also made the decision to settle here permanently, buying a house in Hoquiam to seal the deal.
• In 2019, I decided to take a more active role in LGBT+ advocacy. This change in priorities led me to step away from Scouts BSA after 15 years of volunteerism with that very worthy organization, which itself has made several shifts for the better in the past decade. Now, as an executive board member of Out & Proud Grays Harbor Coalition, I hope to help make a positive difference in other ways.
What fundamental shift will 2020 bring? Well, my dad is moving to Washington this spring, and it’ll be great to have him living nearby for the first time since I left the nest at 18. Beyond that, I don’t know what’s coming down the pike.
But I do know better than to become complacent with my life, no matter how comfortable I get.
Shift happens, and I’ll deal with it as it comes.
Kat Bryant is lifestyle editor of The Daily World and editor of Washington Coast Magazine. She’d like to thank her many Muses for their input on this column. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at Kat Bryant-DailyWorld.