Closing Out 2021

My strongest wish in bidding farewell to 2021 is that I be done with it today, on New Year’s Eve. The last two years slopped their events over into January, making the transition muddy. I want this year to stay contained within its calendar. More than that, I want 2022 to be after. All of the events of 2020 and 2021 are blended together in a shared memory mire. I’m ready for after. Even though I know that so many things are still in the middle and will be for a while. Pandemic will continue. Economic uncertainty will continue. Political wrangling will continue. Personal challenges will continue. I am going to be carrying so many unfinished projects with me into this next year. However I still believe that I can cultivate the next year to be something different than the last two years have been. It can feel like after even while being a simple continuation of all the things I began in prior years. The first part of making things feel different is to really mark this New Year’s Eve. Note its passing. Make conscious effort to contemplate the year and lay it to rest before crossing the threshold into the next one.

As part of that effort, I have made my annual compilation of blog entries, correspondence, and private journal entries. It is my One Cobble book that I print into a bound format and set on my shelf. This will be the seventeenth volume. I also printed out The Year Compass booklet and wrote my way through its exercises even though that sort of guided contemplation usually sets my teeth on edge. (Don’t try to make me pick a favorite event!) For once I didn’t let instructions like “list the most important events of the year” tangle me up into an anxiety ball over what in my life counts as “most important.” Instead I treated the whole thing like a snapshot of this moment in my brain. Instead of “most important” I wrote down whatever response jumped to the top of my mind when I read the question. This means some of my answers are tangential to the questions and occasionally I simply declare that the question is shaped wrong. (Who did I have the most influence on? I don’t get to decide that, other people get to decide if I was influential in their lives, not me. Also the attempt to exert influence is an attempt at control, which is a thing pandemic has slowly been teaching me I can’t cling to.)

I’m so earnest about trying to put my pandemic years to bed that I’m willing to come up with three words to describe my year and write them into little boxes. I grabbed the three at the top of my mind rather than searching for the perfect ones. I wrote Exhausting, Growth, and Cocoon. I was quite interested to see a news site a few hours later where a survey had people list their words for 2021 and the top of the list were Exhausting, Growth, and Relentless. There is a shared experience in the year just past which has a million different expressions, but is still somehow shared. I am grateful for all the gifts 2021 brought to me. I’m grateful for the growth I’ve had during it. It hasn’t been a bad year on the whole. So I plan to Konmari this year just past, thank it for what it gave to my life and let it go.

Only a few hours left and then I’m on to something else. I hope.