An Unpretty Year

My evening on this second day of 2010 has been spent reading through several New Year’s blog posts from friends, colleagues, and fellow seekers.  Expressed in a range of emotions from resignation to rage, the theme of all seemed to be the same – 2009 was a rough year that dragged everyone through the proverbial mud and kicked us squarely in the teeth while we were down.  No one has proclaimed it the “best year ever” or even a “pretty good year.”  Whether it’s been financial, health, family, or career woes, it seems that everyone is bemoaning the year that was. 

I’m no different from any of those blog authors.  Kind words are difficult to muster when speaking of the year that has passed.  If I can’t be kind, then at least let me be honest as I search for words to describe the year that was: challenging, gritty, scary, and often melancholy.   I can’t point to a single incident that made 2009 a miserable companion. Rather, it was the collective of all of the little hiccups, upsets, and bumps in the road that made it an annoying and sometimes regrettable 365 days.  As one friend described it, the year was just plain unpretty… not actually ugly, but by no means pretty either.

Unpretty has been my path this year as well.  2009 began on a strong spiritual note and my plan had been to spend a good deal of time codifying my beliefs while working on the Path Forging portions of this blog.  Mundane concerns derailed me quickly however and my intentions fell to the wayside.  Chronic health issues kept me from all but the most basic practices during the fall and even those simple things were completed with great difficulty.  No dark night of the soul this, but rather a dark night of the body and mind, both too worn down to do much more than light a candle and say a prayer.  I wanted to do more, but physically and emotionally could not.

Therein lies the lesson of 2009.  Whether it be spiritually, physically, or financially, it seemed that we all wanted to do more and get more out of the year than we were actually able to.  2009 reminded us that there are limitations, both self-imposed and forced upon us from the outside.  We can rally and rage against those limitations, but there comes a time when we must acknowledge that we are not superhuman, that we can only do so much, that we are confined within boundaries.  So often this kind of acknowledgement is accompanied by a sense of defeat or failure.   Knowing that we face limitations should not make us feel diminished, but should empower and inspire us to make the most of what we’ve been given.  The year may have been unpretty, but it was mine to live and I lived it as fully as I could.  It is this thought about 2009 that I will carry forward into 2010.


4 thoughts on “An Unpretty Year

  1. Tony 3 January 2010 / 7:22 pm

    Yeah, but think of all the character building we’ve had in 2009.

  2. aisling13 3 January 2010 / 5:32 pm


    Glad you liked it, as I know you were among those who had a rough 2009.

    A friend pointed out that the post reminded them of Stitch’s quote about family, just substitute the word path for family: “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.” If only I’d remembered that one, I could have shortened the post significantly. 🙂


  3. fionn999 3 January 2010 / 9:21 am

    I think it’s a great word of the year, and fits it exactly.

    Good thoughts to lift my spirits a little as I start out the year, Aisling. Thank you. 🙂


  4. aisling13 3 January 2010 / 12:57 am

    Author’s note:

    Before the grammar police come for me, I do realize that “unpretty” is not actually a word.

    However, limitations of the English language didn’t allow me to find a more suitable description of 2009. What can I say, I made the most of what I was given. 😛

    With tongue firmly in cheek,

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