It’s the last day of the year. Of this year. The craziest of years. The year of love and of loathing, of compassion and of cruelty. The year where we were so human it hurt. Love and hate, side by side, bumping into each other such that we barely knew whether we were sanctified or sanctimonious.
Today, December 31, 2020, I am gazing at the ocean, the place that gives me the clearest view of God over any church. I found an intact scotch bonnet shell, a rare acquisition, on my walk, and enjoyed (disclosure, am enjoying) a cold beer on the deck.
This has been a week of reflection. Usually, it’s a week of preparing for the upcoming year. This time, though, has been a year of real reflection, of all that I encountered and contributed to in this, the year of complete chaos that is in fact, a year of complete humanity. I’m not done reflecting, and I’m not sure how I’ll proceed.
My year has not been as hard as many have had. I have a job, a healthy family, and some hobbies that keep me out of trouble. I am thankful and grateful but also aware that I deserved none of it. And still, it has been a year of worry and fear. My husband has been a front line health care worker through it all this year, and I’ve worried about his physical and mental health. I still do. I have children and other family members who would likely have tragic consequences if they contracted Covid-19. I’m your garden variety 53 year old–with a slow thyroid, a bum digestive system, lots of opinions and too much time to worry. I’ll be last in line for the vaccine, and that’s ok with me. Let’s be honest, 2020 would have been a bit brighter without the likes of me about.
I had professional luck this year, both in law and with my fledgling writing hobby. I returned to the pool in a consistent but not maniacal fashion, which is the sweet spot. Again, I didn’t earn it, but I’m thankful for it.
I lost (or discarded? the jury is out) a trusted friend this year, and I’m trying to decide what to do with that. I hosted really invigorating book clubs, and I’m trying to learn what I’m supposed to, to continue in that vein. I’ve stayed pissed off for weeks on end, which isn’t helpful but then again is helpful. I’ve embraced that I’m a lot, and also sometimes not enough, and always, regardless, filled with passion.
I want, like many, to think 2020 is over. And of course it is, in a few short hours. But many of the issues and hates and dislikes remain. And that’s inconvenient and annoying and also real. And right. You can’t blink away human failings ever, and this year showed me how failed we can be as humans. And I’m first in line.
GK Chesterton, when reportedly asked what is wrong with the world, answered, “I am.”
This year is a reflection of me, of all of us. I dare say there are decisions I made that reflect quite poorly on me, and I frankly don’t want you to know what I said/wrote/thought in those, my darkest hours. Sadly (rightfully?) some of you do know.
So I sip my beer, listen to the waves crashing on this windy day when the sea is a tumult, and think, what a perfect end to a year that is over and yet still carries over some of its remainder, like any math problem as yet unsolved.
Rest up, friends. Celebrate. Get ready to recommit to what you need to. Prepare for apologies that are right, or to live by your decision to refrain from reengaging if that is right.
In the end, we are human, and the problem with the world is, of course, me. And you.