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.

2 thoughts on “Looking Back and Ahead”

  1. I hope you will forgive me for laughing out loud when I read about you wanting to read ahead.

    Not so long ago, I was reading through letters my father and a friend had written to each other when the friend was on a mission. I knew the general outline of the end of the story– they both went on to marry NOT each other– but I was still on the edge of my seat when I read his second letter to her inviting her to his graduation dinner, and I knew that there was only one letter to go in the entire collection. Was it his last attempt to get a response from her? Would she stand him up? But the last letter was a sweet apology from her, in which she acknowledged that it had been rude to leave him hanging and accepted the invitation. Even now I’m not really sure why I felt so relieved as I read this, but I did.

    Since I have been doing better than I have in a decade during the course of this pandemic, I realize that it’s of course ridiculously easy for me to say this, but I really do believe the worst will not happen, that things will work out, that things will normalize not even to the way they were before, but to a way that is better than they were before. And I believe that partly because of history– I feel like all kinds of things got a jump from our country having been through each of the world wars– but also because of psychology. For some of those for whom this has been worse than for others, they will take the experience and have fire in their bones to improve systems and procedures and whatever needs to be improved. It’s not just normal but really, really healthy for people to take senselessly bad things and turn them into good things, to make them make sense in a way that they just didn’t before those people started acting.

    Again, I’m really hoping to be helpful and not discouraging. I’ve had SO many times in my life when I felt discouraged and afraid and as though others were trying to tell me I should just power through it, when I was pretty sure that a) they had no idea what I was actually going through, and b) they also didn’t know what it would take for me to actually get through it. And those people had no idea how destructive their words were. So, if anything I’ve written is accidentally discouraging, please please please chuck it and listen to whatever it is that actually will help you keep going.

    I love your blog so much. Thank you for writing it.

    1. No apology needed for laughing. We need all the laughter we can get. And you’re not being discouraging. I can see all the potential good from current events and I believe that the vast majority of people will act in the common good when they can see the self sacrifices are needed. If nothing else “we’re all in this together” is reframing how we think about ourselves and our communities. Glad to hear that you’re in a better place than you have been.
      Thank you for reading and for commenting. It is good to hear that I’m not just babbling to myself.

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