This concludes my Year in Review series and I’ll get off my soapbox.
The news has been full of the tragedy and heartbreak and frustration and fear that is so understandable given the current state of the world. Each of us has at least one story of something that went sideways specifically because of the strangeness that was 2020.
I’d like to try to find the positives of the year though before we bid it adieu.
First and foremost, we are alive
First and foremost, we are alive. I do not say that flippantly. COVID has proven to be a silent traveler and even those who have taken every precaution have become victims. If someone you know has not been so lucky, keep their memory alive… it’s as close to perpetuity as any of us can hope for.
My gifts this year include getting to spend five days a week with my grandsons for five months straight. It wasn’t always easy, it was sometimes frustrating (you’ve heard of the terrible twos…), but it was a gift: just last week I came home to find extended family having a front lawn visit. The two (almost three) year old came flying off his mother’s lap yelling “there’s my friend, Gramma!!!” He wrapped himself around my leg in a huge hug and I don’t think life could get better than those moments.
The difficulties of the Spring and Summer juggling children and a client and my business made me appreciate the return of children’s lives to school and daycare and I have been so productive this Fall. Whereas before I would produce but regularly find an excuse to email someone or take the dog out or even wash the dishes, nowadays I understand how fragile time can be and I’m staying focused and creative, and I’m sure my online clients appreciate that too.
that addiction wasn’t all bad news
You perhaps read an earlier post about my being a bit of a news junkie… well, that addiction wasn’t all bad news… I heard about people creating amazing gardens, baking bread and sharing it, sewing masks for front-line workers, banging pots and pans in appreciation of those workers, deserted alleys resounding with the sound of beautiful song from all the apartment dwellers that faced the alley, people rejoicing in the forgotten call of nature, and so many people getting inventive in the way they visited with their families, near and far, over the internet.
When a friend was reading my first 2020 in Review post last week, he suggested that not all those who flouted the rules around COVID were fools (my suggestion) but that some of them were selfish. I added that suggestion to the article and now that it’s in my brain, I see its truth often.
Don’t be selfish
When someone gets angry with a clerk just doing more than their job by trying to encourage adherence to government guidelines – that’s selfish. When someone shouts to the world that having to wear a mask to protect their neighbours violates their civil liberties, that’s selfish. As soon as a response is all about you, that’s selfish.
Yesterday (December 30), the government decreed that alcohol-fueled celebrations were known to increase the risk of COVID spread and required that alcohol and gathering establishments close early tonight. This morning I was listening to the backlash over that order. When the news piece ended, we were caught up on the weather… blizzards in this part of the land, power outages there, extended heavy rain here… there will always be an unknown to our businesses, and our lives. Even as an individual, I could have invested in lots of great food and champagne and decorations… and if a blizzard landed halfway through the day, my party would need to be cancelled. Shit happens. I’ve lost money; my friends are all safe and sound in their own homes. Yes, I realize I’m simplifying, but it’s also real.
(As I reread that paragraph before I publish, I also want to thank those decision makers that have been on the job almost every day since mid-March, keeping us informed, updated; working to learn as much as they can about COVID, consulting with their peers around the world… they haven’t hired a hairdresser when the rest of couldn’t, they haven’t visited their loved ones on the sly, they haven’t taken much in the way of a personal day for months… they must be exhausted working so hard to keep the rest of us as safe as possible, and then someone slams them for a decision we couldn’t even begin to research. I wish them all a speedy resolution to this thing called COVID and a well-deserved vacation wherever in the world they want to take it!!)
Back to the good stuff
But back to the good stuff. With fewer places to go and fewer people to visit, I’ve loved relaxing in my friend’s backyard, sipping a glass of wine watching her dahlias reach for the sun; I’ve enjoyed walking through my neighbourhood with another friend and stopping to sit at opposite ends of a park bench enjoying the view; I’ve appreciated evening walks with my daughter and our dogs watching the neighbourhood come to life with lights and displays as our neighbours worked to bring joy into our lives.
Perhaps one of the greatest pleasures has been finding myself and so many people in my neighbourhood not going anywhere in our cars. We are on foot, smelling the same air, seeing the same displays, wandering the same trails, watching our children and grandchildren run through the parks. I live in a multicultural neighbourhood and I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the differences between me and my neighbours… but I sure can tell you about our similarities. That’s such a gift.
As I write this, 2021 is 12 hours away. I am choosing to enter it asleep. Haha, as I wrote, I realized that’s all I could end that sentence with. But when I climb into my bed tonight, my meditation will include a vision of a healthy, united, conscientious world in the new year. When I wake up in the morning I’m going to be grateful for another opportunity to make the best of what happens, to remember that everyone else is doing the exact same thing, that everyone has their own story and road to here and I know neither so tolerance is necessary. Or, I could be a better person and learn their story if they want to share it.
Happy New Year
That’s my wish for myself, and it’s my wish for you. Yes, we are all in different boats in this sea of uncertainty, but we are all in the same sea. I’ll be your back-up life raft… whose will you be?