So, 2020 was a bit of a challenge.
As I have already talked about (here and here) 2020 was not the best time I ever had. On a personal level, it was – to use a technical term – a bit shite. And on a world situation level, it was – again technical term – batshit awful.
I’m being flippant of course. I guess I do that to downplay just how bad I truly felt this year – and it began literally on day one. Now, in my lifetime there have been terrible years where bad things have happened. But never in my life have I experienced so much bad, so consistently, so often, and with so much impact both internally and externally. It was – and I say this non-hyperbolically – the worst year of my life.
But as we came to a weary close to this devastating and miserable year there were glimmers of hope.
There is now a vaccine (multiple vaccines actually) for the plague that has been ravishing the world and (in my country at least) we have reluctantly decided to course-correct and return to simple boring governance and cease spiraling down the whirlpool of comic book villainy. Of course, the vaccine will take a while to implement and that boring governance comes with gridlock and name-calling but still…it’s a start.
A start is what we needed…what I needed.
Around the middle of the year I found myself shutting down. Oh, I put on a brave face outwardly. If you talked you’d never know I wasn’t hunky-dory and feeling great. Wearing a mask is helpful in that regard. I guess one of the benefits of wearing a mask is that it’s all that easier to hide what you really feel. I don’t know if you’d call it depression – I am reluctant to do that – but maybe ‘withdrawn’ is a better way to describe what I felt. I didn’t want to do anything. I felt displaced, uncomfortable in my own skin.
In the corner of my room there is a stack of notebooks and legal pads. This is where I jot down my ideas and thoughts in varying degrees of detail. Things I want to write, books I want to read, places I want to go – these collections of papers are typically my inspiration, the things I flip through when I want to start a project or just dream about the future. For a long time now this stack has been a thing I avoided. I didn’t even want to look at it. Instead of inspiration, it became a monolith of impending failure. All the things I didn’t want to do, couldn’t do, was incapable of doing. When I saw this stack out of the corner of my eye I would turn away, ashamed of what I could not do.
But I didn’t get rid of it. I didn’t throw that stack in the trash. I didn’t hide it in a closet. I left it there. This wasn’t a conscious decision, mind you. I just let that stack of ideas and thoughts linger collecting dust. I left it there and it waited.
I am lucky enough to have wonderful people in my life. I have generous and loving friends and an outstanding daughter that I am truly in awe about how much of a glorious person she is. I credit these people for keeping me sane. No matter how low or isolated I felt I was never really alone. I am thankful for that.
And as the year ended, as the glimmers of hope grew brighter, with the help and love of friends and family I started to feel different.
The stack of notebooks and legal pads no longer look like a foreboding example of impending failure but the actual source of inspiration that they were intended to be. There is a feeling coursing through my veins causing my hair to stand on end. It is a feeling I have not felt in a long, long time; so long in fact that I’m not really sure what to call it. Is it motivation? Is it anticipation? Is what I’m feeling – dare I say – happy? Well, maybe not happiness exactly…contentment? Yes, that’s it. I feel content.
So yes Virginia, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it turns out it was the dawn breaking on a brand new day. It is also possible it is just a mixed metaphor sitting atop a tattered book of clichés…regardless; I’m feeling good about it.
And I haven’t felt this good in a while.
The challenge for 2021 I suppose is to keep this feeling going. Right now at least I’m feeling up to that challenge.