Thursday, December 31, 2020

Stolen Holiday

If you know me, you know New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. Not so much for the champagne and revelry (which I fully support), but for the newness. The fresh start of January 1. A new calendar year comes so full of hope and promise. The days ahead can be whatever you want. Resolutions make the world go 'round for weeks, at least, sometimes longer. And I am here for all of it.

This year, though, I am having big feelings about 2021. I'm in a strange place in my heart tonight, feeling cheated. I feel robbed of my favorite holiday. An illness that threatens me and everyone I know has made off with my sense of security and hopefulness like a bandit. And I'm angry about it.

Here is where I am right now: it is cold and raining outside on New Year's Eve. I have one more day of work at the end of a very long two week stretch with no break. I am weepy. Not doubled over sobbing, but sniffly enough that I have a tissue. Fireworks are popping in the distance and probably will until about 1 a.m. I ate too much for dinner.

I've been struggling this holiday season. I had plans and broke them and it broke my heart. The weight of the pandemic was  more than I could carry to the people I love. My fear of potentially making someone sick outweighed my desire to hug and be hugged by my family. And I'm here to tell you that if you haven't been hugged by someone who loves you unconditionally in months, that pain is real. A shoutout to everyone who lives alone and works from home, and to those who come home to an empty house. I feel you.

I am frustrated that my life feels so small tonight. I keep trying to find more bigness, but the worry squeezes things back down to size. Favorite restaurants reduced to soggy takeout, groceries ordered and dumped in the back of the car, Facetime, Zoom, texts, Amazon delivery days. Masks.

Emotions I will not tie to any specific thing, but also lurking under the surface: resentfulness and jealousy, both irrational and ugly.

I messaged a friend recently and said, "I'm so sad about 2020 and what I feel is so much wasted time."
What I meant was, I wasted time. Days, weeks and months feeling aimless, tired, overwhelmed, annoyed and afraid.

I asked my friend, "How do you just not see your family and friends? How do you lead a team when you are never in the same room with them? How do you keep moving forward when the whole world is stuck?"

I also wrote to my friend that I feel very strongly about creating goals for myself in 2021.

As I write, my Christmas tree glows in the corner, reminding me that the people, places and things I love and miss are actually close. And that sort of feels like optimism seeping back in. So I will grab hold of that for now and list the beginnings of the plans that I have sketched out for myself in 2021:

1. Do more of what makes me happy
2. Find new ways to overcome anxiety
3. One road trip per month (i.e. learn the fine art of car camping!)
4. Reach out more 

As always, pandemic or not, I leave myself plenty of room to succeed in my goals, while noting there is equal space to fail. And as always, I continue to work on granting myself grace whichever direction my chips may fall.

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