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2010 was an intense year in many ways. I have wondered how to process all that happened and decided to consider what the combination of events says about life. It’s really nothing new…but perhaps worth reflection.

Life is hard and often unfair. People we care about suffered greatly and we along with them. One of our good, long-term friends spent six weeks in the hospital near death more than once because of undetected lung disease. It shook us deeply. My father had aggressive cancer that resulted in two surgeries, radiation and chemo and still struggles to heal. It is an emotional roller coaster. Both circumstances defied medical logic meaning the typical causes were not present. My father-in-law struggled (and still struggles) with serious health issues that have scared us more than once. A cousin lost his 23-year-old daughter in a tragic accident that rocked our family and continues to create grief. To try and regroup, we booked a vacation on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a long-held desire of mine. It rained hard the entire five days. The bicycles we hauled there were never used, the kayak was taken out just long enough to require cleaning and the planned long walks on the beach and in the quaint town were nixed.

Life is surprising. For most of my daughter’s college years, we talked about taking a mother/daughter vacation, a way to celebrate our new adult-based relationship. We couldn’t get plans to align. Suddenly, in her final semester, she pulled together a study abroad trip to Mexico and asked me to join her final week. Logistics somehow fell into place. It was fabulous and something I will treasure forever. She also became engaged on Thanksgiving Day in front of family members from both sides, another wonderful surprise. Finally, my son decided to move to North Carolina last month. Circumstances changed in a way to make that possible and I am thrilled to have both of our “kids” nearby, if only for a little while.

Life is good. Our friend amazes us with his determination and strength. We enjoyed meals and a long weekend with he and his wife this year. Although our fathers have much to deal with they are alive, home and working on their health. I am so grateful for that. Our son accomplished a well-deserved MBA this winter and we were very proud to watch him graduate. I ran my first half-marathon, something I thought I’d never do just a few years ago. We had many laughs with good friends near and far, several traveling visitors, kayaked and hiked in beautiful places and moved to a new neighborhood we like a lot. I am grateful for continued work with a team of people I call my friends doing work that I believe will create a better tomorrow. Despite the struggles, life is good and I look forward to 2011, whatever it may bring.