December 22, 2020
The other day, in a fit of boredom (okay, let’s be honest: procrastination), I made a mental list of the things I wished I could be doing at that moment. In no particular order, they were: 1) sit in a coffee shop and people-watch; 2) get a big group of volunteers together to collect prairie seed; and 3) attend a concert, play, or lecture out of town.
It has been a trying year for me — and that’s saying something. Any depression or isolation I suffered this summer and fall were just a preview of what hit me about a week ago. It’s a dark time in more ways than one, although the solstice has passed now and Christmas is on its way.
This is not to complain. The events of this year weren’t all bad by any stretch. I celebrated some pretty big personal victories, which were all the more meaningful in not-so-victorious times. Still, there isn’t a single aspect of my life that wasn’t altered in some way in 2020. My blog serves as a record of some of those changes.
But as the speaker at a solstice celebration said over Zoom this week, we need to “frame” the things that are missing in our lives in terms of what we do have. I think this is sound advice (despite having once heard a communications professor assert that “framing is dead”). And the longer I think about what I have, the less and less the above paragraphs seem to actually describe my life. I recommend you start your own list as we head into true winter.
Depression and isolation certainly contributed to a lack of focus for me this fall. At one point, I accidentally used my stovetop coffee maker without any water in it and destroyed the thing. I was mortified, and put a tally mark in the column of bad things about 2020, but I now have multiple replacements sent by a kind friend. I also have a park by the river where I can walk any time I choose, sometimes literally following in my own footsteps. You get the idea.
Who can say what I’ll have and not have in 2021? I look forward to finding out. With coffee in hand.