The timing of this, my last column of 2018, is not ideal.

Those of you who know me, or have read my columns before, know that I live my life in a semi-permanent state of righteous indignation over one thing or another. Somehow though, that just doesn’t seem appropriate to express during the holiday season.

Secretly, however, the older I get, the more sentimental I am. Most people wouldn’t know this because I’d rather publicly expose my knickers than my feelings. But as the good Dr. Phil says, the most important role model in a child’s life is the same-sex parent — so I guess it is incumbent upon me to model a full spectrum of human emotion to my daughters. I prefer they not grow into stunted weirdos. See, that’s emotional right?

So, without further ado, I’ll send off 2018 with a few things this year that have made me grateful, happy and thankful. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short because no matter how much I try to grow, I still kinda think feelings, like one’s drawers, should be kept firmly tucked in.

1. I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch democracy in action this year in Princeton. A series of tax referendums doesn’t seem like the thing to immediately come to mind for a grateful list, but hear me out. By the end of the jail tax and school referendums, I felt like I could give the presentations myself. I wrote about them ad nauseam— trust me, I was tired of myself. That isn’t the part that makes me thankful. What I do appreciate is seeing a group of my townspeople band together for something they believed in. I gained a whole tribe of Facebook friends throughout the process — people I may have encountered but not have otherwise gotten to know. For that I am thankful because they’re a great group of people. A special shout out to Elizabeth because she posts some inspiring food pics online.

2. I’m thankful for the arts community here in Princeton and the Illinois Valley in general. My daughters are becoming involved in the arts here and I couldn’t be happier for their opportunities. In a time that many schools have to cut their arts funding, my daughters have a broad range of artistic pursuits to enjoy. They are both in Art Club at PES, one is in band, one in choir and my older daughter just performed in her first play at Prairie Arts Center. Both take painting lessons from a gifted artist in Spring Valley. The talent they are developing and the confidence and friendships that come with it are a joy to me.

3. I’m thankful for Millennials. While the internet roasts them for ruining everything, I have the opposite response. I love seeing kids engaged in politics in a way I don’t feel my generation was at their age. (And no, it’s not disrespectful to call them kids-I’ve reached the age where everyone younger than me is a kid.) What’s not to like about the generation that created meme culture? And although I honestly don’t get the appeal of avocado toast, I have respect for the side-hustle generation. I hope to befriend as many of them as possible before they take over the world. 

4. I’m grateful for my friends that I argue with. It’s not as weird as it sounds. This is a specific subset of friends, who generally have different viewpoints on issues than I do, that feel free to regularly debate with me. There is almost nothing in life that satisfies me as much as arguing with people — and I have a great set of people to do it with. Having a friend you can freely express your ideas with, especially when you disagree is invaluable. And honestly, I relish the opportunity to do a little (harmless) name-calling.

5. I’m happy that I have a job that allows me to indulge my need to be the nosiest person I know. Gladys Kravitz, eat your heart out. I’m an enquiring mind and I want to know. Everything. For me to be able to share that information and knowledge with you all is just icing on the cake. I’ve gotten to meet and know countless people and share their stories which is a great privilege and one I don’t take lightly.

So, there it is. Short, like I  promised, but nonetheless, I feel emotionally drained having to put all those feelings into words. If you see me over the next week or so, forgive me if I just give you a silent wave and move along. After all, I’ve just exposed my emotional knickers in public.

 Kim Shute can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or Follow her on Twitter at NT_Princeton2


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