I started a news letter on the day of the winter solstice- it seemed appropriate- the shortest day of the year, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. And, you know- I could not write it. The thoughts were so many, and, like the year, hard to process. Below are a few mental ramblings as I look back over this past year, and forward to 2021.
So much has happened in this year of 2020. It seems listing any is stupid- we all know what the happenings of this year were. A disease hit world wide, changing our lives, how we live, how we act, killing many of our friends and family. The death of a black man that sparked world wide protests. Rioting. War in places around the world. The US election with all of its angst and problems. Hurricanes. Fires.The list is long, and varies according to where one lives.
I think back to the late ’60’s, early 70’s. We thought those years were intense, they were nothing to this year, where events were layered one on top of another. so quickly one could hardly absorb the impact of one before the next one happened.
I know people have been ill, hurt, angry, scared, lonely, tired, depressed, and more as the year progressed. Living in a small town, we have been shielded from much of what others have gone through. This has been a year of pain. Even living here, one is aware that 2020 is a year of pain.
So many unforgettable impressions of life in2020. Bravery, fear, anger, sadness, and love-we saw every human emotion displayed. All got hit day after day with raw emotions. It was exhausting. I think about what Europe went through during the world wars. What people endured, not just for a year, but for years. People are durable, we can make it through this time.
We also saw calmness and strength. Kudos to New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. She was decisive, calm, and caring- the weekly home You Tube posts for children were lovely.
I think about the films of women in Italy singing from balconies across the street. I think about people doing drive bys for children’s birthdays, waving. And, I think of a lonely woman, in the line at the store, who nearly burst into tears as she had not been able to see any family for months. The images of front line workers in NY hospitals, exhausted, but still pulling themselves up by their boot straps to continue. Images of protests, rioting, looting. These are burned into my memory.
What can we do in 2021 to make it a better year?
For me, as the days grow slowly longer, that is the question. What can I do? What can each of us do? What small kindnesses can we do for others? Even in locked down areas- what can we do to help?
Perhaps it is as simple as not getting into road rage on the way to work; the fight over the parking place at the market, letting someone else go first. We have to start somewhere, and that kindness can grow in size as others do the same.
Besides kindness, the other important thing for me is to practice gratitude. I live alone, drive to work alone, and go to work alone. And, it is so easy to get mentally stuck, especially with grey, cold winter weather.
So, I try to go out in the yard once a day to breath fresh air. I realize many don’t have a yard. But, one can open a window, put on a coat, and breath fresh air. I am trying to get back into a good exercise routine. I make a soup on Sunday, so I don’t have to think about “what is for dinner” when I am tired through the week. And, I turn off the computer so I am not just sitting there mindlessly, aimlessly surfing, absorbing more negativity.
I am grateful for the fresh, cold air, for being able to do exercises, and for having soup. I have to focus on the small things.
I found a place that sells used books online- Discover Books, so I can get new thoughts and ideas, or revisit old ones. https://www.discoverbooks.com/
I look at Claudia Diller’s blog page to see her Peaceful Places paintings- they bring me back to a happier thought pattern. https://www.claudiadiller.com/blog.htm
And I hope. I hope this coming year is about hope. I hope it is about healing- physically, mentally, emotionally, and hope people can move out of the anger, fear, and angst. Right now when people write or call I hear a lot of negativity. I understand it. But, I think to get out of the negative, we need to change ourselves, and help with our little corners of the earth. And, I hope that is possible for us all.
Happy New Year, 2021