When I woke up on January 1, 2021, I felt lighter, as if in the night I’d dropped 20 pounds of gloom off of my shoulders and onto the floor. The physical burden of 2020 was gone. I no longer had to live in that year, which was the worst year I’d ever experienced. Until 2020, my worst year was 2002, when we learned that we were infertile and wouldn’t be able to conceive a child. My headspace was murky and complicated that whole year. I shunned people, stored up anger, and said all sorts of awful things to God because I knew He could take it.
But 2020 rang a new bell in me and replaced 2002 as the new worst year. I was glad to see it leave.
In these last few weeks of 2021, I’ve done a lot of unloading. I’ve cleaned my closet, sorted through my books, deep-cleaned a few rooms in the house, reorganized my desktop browser (Ahh…), and recommitted to cooking the way I used to cook with some measure of purpose. With each task, I’m lifting more of that anvil off of my shoulders, shedding more skin, breathing new air. Clutter and mess weigh me down as much as emotions do, so when I can’t control what’s going on around me, I’ve focused on the things I can control. For example, I cannot control the spread of COVID/attacks on the US Capitol/rising gas prices/people being crazy/my dad being gone/closed borders/teen angst/other people’s struggles/etc, but I can control whether or not my closet is a mess.
Also, in lieu of resolutions, I’m focusing on a few words to keep my brain and body in check, words such as boundaries and balance. I’m protecting my time and energy as a limited resource because it is a limited resource. It means choosing not to respond to work emails on weekends. (That one decision created a lot of space for me.) It means shifting my focus intentionally from one task to another rather than always responding to what shows up each day. I’m an organized person to a fault, but 2020 left me so frazzled that being scatterbrained and forgetful became a new normal.
Originally I thought 2020 broke me, but I’m starting to consider that maybe it was a catalyst for a reset.
I would be foolish to claim how hopeful I am for this year because if 2020 taught me anything it is to expect the unexpected. Still, I feel a small spark of hope that this year will bring something lovely my way. I don’t know what it is, but it’s… something. It very well could be something as simple and beautiful as a greater peace of mind, but it could also be something else I’ve been needing and didn’t know it. It could be something to enjoy for my boys or my husband, or it can be something positive for another family member or close friend. Whatever the spark is, I don’t want to douse it with doom or fear. I am so good at catastrophizing! Instead, I’m going to let it sit there and sparkle and see what happens.
The boys are moving along in their school year, no doubt counting the days until summer break. When I look at them, I see two young men who don’t have much longer under our wings. I am surprised to realize that I have only three and a half years of homeschooling left. That is some kind of math I do not understand.
This year will bring some milestones, such as Jeremy turning 18, which is more math I don’t understand, and the 10th anniversary of us moving back to Tennessee from Texas. I still love where we live and have no plans to move anytime soon.
As for what’s going on in our country politically, I’ll leave you with the wisdom of Don Draper, advertising pioneer:
Cheers to a better year, everyone. Fingers crossed.