I don’t know about you, but 2021 was another strange and disorienting year for us. Better than 2020, that’s for sure. But still strange.
If nothing else, the last two years have taught me (over and over and over again) just how little control I have over life. But the same two years have also been an ongoing lesson in how my attitude affects my happiness and peace of mind.
One thing I know for certain: Gratitude, flexibility, perseverance, and humor will continue to be my best emotional friends as we roll into 2022.
Looking Back At 2021
Paging through my art journal, I found this that I wrote in January last year:
I woke this morning feeling a surge of hope, of gladness. I feel like there is light on the horizon, that the virus will abate, the vaccines will protect us, the world will calm down and right itself, people will be kind and generous to one another, we will come together—enough of us, at least—to work for the common good. For peace.
And then I read of the new virus variants, the uncertainties of the effectiveness of the vaccine, borders closing again, escalating tensions in our country and in the world at large.
It is not easy, to hold all of this. Narrowing my focus, I feel the grief at losing my father and my mother in less than a year. I am nearly overwhelmed by the decisions that face us. Keep my folks’ house in Florida? Return to our home in Oregon? Continue our travels? I do not like living in uncertainty.
But this is our reality right now. And so, I come back to this moment, the breeze rustling the palmettos, the sun glinting on the bay, the song of the Carolina wren. And in this moment, I feel at peace.
The Reality Of 2021
So, how did it all play out?
Some things are much the same as at the dawn of 2021. But there are some things we’ve managed to resolve in our personal realm.
In April, we got our vaccines. In October, we got our boosters. We still wear masks indoors. But all along through this craziness, we’ve been able to enjoy the outdoors and to spend time with friends. And for that, we are grateful.
In April, we completed probate on my parents’ estate. In June, we decided to make Florida our home. In August, we sold our home in Oregon. As of this week, we both have our Florida driver’s licenses, we have Florida license plates, we’re both registered to vote, we have Florida insurance, we have bank accounts locally. We’re Florida residents. We NEVER thought this would be our reality. Life unfolds in unexpected ways.
Although we’ve closed the chapter on our full-time traveling life, we traveled to North Carolina in August, and ended up staying for two-and-a-half months. And we have a four-month trip this summer to Michigan/Minnesota/Wisconsin on the horizon.
As of October, Mom and Dad are back home with us, residing on the screened porch and enjoying the sunsets. We’re planning a Valentine’s Day party for them in honor of their first date 72 years ago. We’ll send them off into the bay with a cocktail party, just the way they wanted.
The world is still coming apart at the seams, but we can keep our focus on our own backyard and our extended network of friends and family in this life journey. And we can do what we can on a daily basis to try in some small way to create peace and joy in this troubled world. I hold tight to the idea that little actions matter.
A Poem For Mindfulness
I see or hear something that more or less
kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,
to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over
and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself, how can you help
but grow wise with such teachings as these –
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?
About That Bucket List
Eric sent this to me a few months ago when I was lamenting the fact that in all likelihood, I will not get to do everything on my bucket list in this lifetime. (I have a very long bucket list.)
This made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now.
Wishing you more of whatever brings you joy in this life.