Year’s End View I

Image courtesy of Makoto Shinkai, of course

I’ve tried to avoid falling into the trap of ’20xx has been a shitshow’ over the years because, frankly, I’ve already played that cynical game for several years in the 90s and it didn’t do a damn thing to make my life any better at the time other than make me feel even worse. A lot of things have happened in the last couple of years, some it well within my control and some of it not, and the most I can do is keep going despite it all. Life around us has definitely changed in one way or another.

In a way it’s kind of felt like an enforced renewal, if that makes sense…like it was far past time to purge some of the poisons we’d fed ourselves over the last several decades, plucked us out of a race we’d been trying so hard to keep up with despite our exhaustion, recalibrated our speed to more acceptable and mentally healthier levels, and gave us a chance to start fresh. It’s changed our viewpoints somewhat.

I understand how terrifying that can be for some people, especially when you’ve been trained to run that pre-mapped race at corporate-enforced speeds. Believe me, I know…so many of my jobs in my life demanded that I stay in constant motion lest I be seen as not actually working, and that nearly always breeds a special brand of guilt when you slow down out of physical or mental exhaustion. When you’re given the ability to take that break guilt-free, it’s hard to accept. Somewhere in the back of your mind you feel guilty anyway, even if no one else cares. You get that itchy feeling that you need to do something every minute. And that feeling gets harder to purge the longer you’re kept from that downtime.

Now that we seem to be (hopefully) approaching the back end of a pandemic era with its lesser variants, rising vaccinations and healthier habits, it almost feels like things might actually get a bit sunnier in the near future. Not to ignore the terrible things that are still out there, of course…those are an unfortunate constant no matter what era. But I really want to feel as though we’ve been given the opportunity to rethink the way we approach those things, and I want to embrace that. Reacting to every negative event with a reactionary emotional drama has never been a healthy approach at all for me, and yet it’s all I’d known for years, and I felt it was time for me to change that. [Side note, come to find out lowering my blood pressure with medication helped here. Whodathunkit?]

So I’ve been spending most of 2021 recalibrating…emotionally, mentally, physically, and creatively. And apparently it paid off, as the last time I spoke with my parents, my mother told me I sounded a lot happier and healthier as of late. It weirdly felt like vindication, come to think of it…like I had to go against the grain to find that happiness, but taking the alternate journey was so worth it.

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