We Live in . . . Interesting Times

One of the interesting things (or potentially creepy, depressing, chilling things, LOL) about being a writer is that you often have snippets here and there that capture pivotal moments of your life, reflect on times past, and reveal former hopes, plans, and goals for the future.

Somewhere near the end of a year or the start of a fresh one, I usually sit down to pen (or type!) ruminations similar to those outlined above. I often start the process by skimming through past New Year’s thoughts. This year was no different, and . . . wow. Did late 2019/early 2020 Ev ever make me laugh! Here are a few comments that I find especially humorous in retrospect:

“There’s always a flip side to my grateful looking back and sunny looking ahead, however: shadows from past months. What year, after all, doesn’t hold hard times or carry some bad news? And 2019 was no exception.”

I thought 2019 was hard? If only I’d known what was coming, LOL. 

“In my personal life, there were (are) tough things to face and hard facts to reconcile with, none of which were fully resolved (because some things can’t really be, or at least not quickly), so no doubt they’ll rear their ugly heads again.”

Well, this is always true to some degree or another, isn’t it? Why did I even bother to write that down? (Okay, I’m being a bit facetious. The point of writing things like that down is to remind yourself of the truth of them.) 

“In the world at large, it’s a terrifying, tumultuous time in a lot of ways. I can find it excruciatingly difficult to not get overwhelmed by the news and/or social media, to not just feel . . . afraid.”

Um, I’m truly unsure (now) whether the above was an observation or a prediction…. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t chuckle at my sweet, naïve pre-2020, pre-COVID 19, pre-so-many-things self—and, okay, okay, I’ll stop joking around. In all seriousness, coming out of an even more challenging year, I found much to smile at (or wince about!) in last year’s jottings. Yet, I was also struck by the wisdom in some of my words, how my “takeaways” from our previous year are even more true today:

I’ve always believed that the small things in life are actually the big things—the things with the power to change us, to sustain us, to help us grow, and to be a comfort in hard times.” (And I’m incredibly grateful for all the things, namely not things at all—but people and pets—who sustained me through this year.)

And . . .

Politics change. What we as nations fear might finally, permanently, wipe us off the globe changes decade by decade (and, to date, thankfully, never has fully materialized or succeeded). What society holds dear—and demonizes—morphs radically, for better and worse, back and forth. Atrocities continue, yes—but there also continues to be people who stand up against them. (And may that ever be true, the latter numbers only growing stronger!)

But from time immemorial, what doesn’t change, hasn’t changed, and is true the globe over, in every culture, regardless of small variances in what the following “looks like,” is that we want our children to survive and thrive. We care about our families’ wellbeing. We value our friends. We want (need, crave) meaningful relationships. We long for connection. And sometimes, when there are no easy answers (and are there ever?), no fixes possible (corruption, illness, death, loss), we need stories that remind us that despite all seeming lost, awful, hopeless, or unredeemable . . . that’s only ever part of the story. The rub of human existence is that it’s all true: the ugly, awful, heartbreaking, atrocious . . . and the beautiful, awing, joy-giving, absolute sweet glory of . . . so many things. I feel challenged to write stories that explore such things, and I’m honored to have people respond to them, be encouraged by them.

So, perhaps my pre-2020 ponderings weren’t naïve, after all. Maybe they were exactly what I needed to write, reflect on, and commit to, going into a year where I had absolutely no idea what was ahead—which, really, if you think about it, is every year. I still believe the words I wrote a year ago, and they were a comfort—and a challenge—as I reread them today. 

As we send 2020 off (with a swift kick, LOL!), I hope your optimism, drive, and hope are strong.

Cheers to 2021, dear friends! May it be a kinder, gentler, less exhausting year all around—and if it’s not, let’s all commit to helping each other up when we fall down. 

Wishing you much joy, love, and peace—and a whole bunch of fun too!