The calendar has changed.
A new year, full of hope and promise, lies before us. Oh, how I've longed for this day, and for the one coming in less than three weeks. I look back on where I was a year ago, and the hopes I had for the year, and I shake my head; we had no idea, had we, what was coming towards us? Perhaps you did -- perhaps you had already seen the writing on the wall. Perhaps it was all evident to you, that we were headed for a year of disaster and heartbreak, a year of unveiling.
And now here we stand, on the other side of the door. Looking forward, and looking back. I find I'm still reluctant to plan, or hope, or expect too much. Do you feel it, too?
As the pandemic settled in, and we found that the staying home wasn't just a short-term thing, I found myself retreating. At first, I was trying to make it work, offering my Baba Yaga course for free, telling stories on Facebook. But it got to be too much, and I found that at the same time, it wasn't enough, because I was grieving a growing mountain of small losses. All the work remained, but the things I loved to do -- baseball games, theater performances, storytelling workshops, festivals and fairs, church services and gatherings -- were all melting away, replaced by "virtual" experiences that left me feeling alone and empty. "They call it a performance or a party," I remember complaining to a friend, "but really, I'm alone in my living room, watching tv."
There's no quick end in sight, no easy fix, no magical elixir or spell.
So as I stand here in the doorway, looking forward and back, I'm hopeful and cautious, glad and sad, and very tired. We got a new dog in time for my birthday in August, who has proven to have a strong personality of his own, and who requires far more intentional handling than our old hound did. I learned to teach online, and have been improving my skills week by week, though I still feel like I'm barely dog-paddling most days. We continued homeschooling, amazed by our seeming prescience at taking this new way of life on before the rest of the world had to join us. We celebrated birthdays and holidays, carefully calculating risks and weighing our decisions. We planted gardens and looked for ways to be outdoors. We survived.
This year, I want to revisit hobbies and interests, try new things, keep moving, and notice what is around me more. I want to be kind. I want to learn more, and participate as I can. I want to write more and worry less.
And you? What are you hoping for as we step through the doorway into this new year? How are you holding on to courage and taking joy?
Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.