I wanted to take a second (or two) to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  I hope that 2009 brings all that you wish for.

This year marks my 4th year of blogging.  This year will also mark a major milestone for me — one that is really hard to get my head around — the fact that I’ll be turning 50.

God, it’s hard to think of myself being that age.  I don’t feel it.  Emotionally.  Physically. Any way at all.  By age 50, my mother was already old.  She had had a couple of strokes and a host of other health issues.  But she also smoked two packs of non-filter cigarettes a day and didn’t take good care of herself.    So healthwise, I’m in much better shape.

I’ve learned in this nearly half-century (gah! there I go again with the freakout!) on earth that I don’t have to surround myself with people that I don’t care for.  Whether they are shallow, insensitive, bigoted, opinionated, whatever, I don’t have to be around them.  I can instead surround myself with people that I care about.

And that brings me to the point of this post — and yes, there is a point.  In my four years in the blogosphere, I have discovered a whole other world.  I’ve made friends – real friends.  And they are all over the world.  These are people I otherwise never would have known existed.  These people are you.

And these people — young and old — gay and straight — living anywhere from Destrehan, Louisiana to Sydney, Australia — conservative, liberal, insane — you people — are my friends.

We’ve been through it all.  We’ve been through marriages and break-ups.  Health crises and clean bills of health.  Childbirth and empty-nest.  We’ve cried.  We’ve laughed.  Laughed some more.  We’ve cooked.  We’ve watched a lot of football.  A lot.  Of. Football.

Some of you have gone through major life changes.  Some of you met right here in the blogosphere and are beginning a new life together as a result (you know who you are, and it’s your story to tell, but I’m so damn happy for you two that I could just about bust!).

I’m just so happy to have been a part of it all.  I’m happy to have shared even a part of your lives with you.  I’m happy to have cried with you and prayed for you and laughed when you did something stupid.

I’m happy to have shared my ups and downs with you, too.  From catching my nose on fire to almost breaking my wrist punching the washer.  From sharing memories of my mom and dad to complaining about being the parent of two teenagers.  You’ve all been there for me, giving me way more credit than I deserve and making me feel infinitely better about myself.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful 2009.  With all of you.