All Of It
We keep talking about how hard this year has been, and it has been—for personal reasons and for world-breaking fascist regime sort of reasons. Those reasons are real, for each of us, and we have every reason to be tired and beleaguered as we crawl our way to the end of the year.
Still, I know for myself that I can fall into the trap of confirmation bias. Everyone around me is suffering, and I am suffering; therefore, all there is and all that will be is suffering. Two of those statements are true. Honestly, two of those statements will always be true. Suffering is the great unifier of humans—we are all suffering. What I know about that is that I can sink into the despair of it, or I can allow it to remind me that I believe the way forward is through compassion. Not compassion for the beliefs of those who would seek to harm my loved ones and me, but compassion for the pain and hurt we all feel.
If I only focus on the pain and misery of life, I will easily forget that there is joy, too. After all, I was raised with the poems and art of people who survived World War II as my guides. I was taught the theories of Viktor Frankl. I cannot disappear into misery, or I’m only seeing part of the truth.
So my year-end wrap up looks strange, but it works for me.
Death took some people in my family, and those of us who are left are here for those of us who are hurting.
We lost a beloved dog and rescued another.
We lost a kitty, and thus he is at peace and rest.
We lost battles, and I am still here to help however I can.
Depression made me disappear, and good help is helping me return.
There were many hard times. There were a lot of good times: times with my book club, my knitting friends, out-of-town friends we visited, my family, and more that make me smile to think back on them.
I got very ill in the spring, and I got better, which is something I wasn’t sure about. I’m very relieved to be better.
Not everyone liked me. Not everyone disliked me.
I read some really great books and some really awful ones.
I saw some super delightful movies and some really not-so-great movies.
I lost friends to out-of-town moves, and yet they are still with me thanks to the internet.
Medication changes made life harder, and they also made life easier.
I went to Disneyworld. There is no downside here.
I don’t want to deny the dark. But denying the light would be just as foolish. A life well lived is one where we feel a lot of things. If 2016 brought me nothing else, it brought me a lot of things to feel. I am spending all my wishes and hopes and dreams for 2017 on more peace, more love, more compassion, and more strength for all of us. I hope you have a really nice holiday season and feel some of my wishes for you come true.