Looking Back and Ahead

At the end of the year I go through my blog entries from the entire year and format them into a book which I have printed to put on my shelf. I often create the annual family photo book at the same time. The process of going through the posts and pictures becomes a year-in-review for me. I am then able to process the experiences of the year and ready myself for the next year. In the past month I’ve blogged as much as I did in the past five months of last year. I felt the weight of those accumulated posts and I knew that the job of assembling posts in December was getting bigger and bigger. I decided not to wait until December. I started putting together the books now. It relieves a possible future burden and gives me something concrete I can do while so many business tasks are in holding patterns.

The first thing I noticed was that January, February, and the first part of March all feel like they belong to a different year. My focus and concerns were valid and important, yet everything changed on a pivot point of March 11. There is a clear Before Pandemic to During Pandemic. I wonder if there will be a similarly clear transition to Post Pandemic. Somehow I doubt it. Even many of the posts I wrote at the beginning of pandemic feel long ago. I remember being in that emotional place, but I haven’t been there for a long time. As I read, there were five posts that stood out to me, they each had a reminder for me that was useful.
Grief as a Creative Process
Predictions, Realizations, Trolleys, and Metaphors
No Longer the Conductor
Filtering the Noise
Checking In

I put all the posts into place in the book, but then I ran out of posts to place. I wished I could keep going, in part to continue having a project that was sufficiently absorbing that I lost track of time. It was so lovely to get into creative flow for the first time in months. But I wanted additional posts even more because I would desperately like to read ahead, to skim read over the next several months and break the tension of not knowing what is coming. I think that not knowing what is coming is part of why I sat down to put the book together now. I’ve no idea what my emotional resources will be at the end of the year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to face a year-in-review. I don’t know what I’ll be grieving or if we’ll be able to rejoice instead. So, just as I’m doing for all our other resources, I’m stocking up now. I know I have the emotional energy to spend now. I don’t know what I’ll have later.

This morning the sun is shining, my flowers are gorgeous, and the world is still having a pandemic. The dissonance of this drives my choices in ways that I don’t understand. Perhaps at some future date I’ll be able to look back and make sense of it.