Well. If it isn’t another January waiting on our front porch.
As we enter another year of pandemic life, I am hesitant to claim, expect, plan, or resolve anything significant. I’ve “resolved” to finish Unquickened at this point more times than I can count (some of them on January 1, some of them during the course of the year). I’ve been inconsistent with my diet and exercise for months now, and I’m not sure a resolution or even micro-choices will help get me back on that wagon. And the choices that keep me sane, like knitting, crocheting, and reading? I am struggling to do any of them for a wide variety of reasons.
But as I face a new year, I am… uncharacteristically hopeful?
I honestly don’t know why. That’s very off-brand for me.
On the commercial writing front, I’ve successfully navigated some changes that will give me more flexibility without reducing my income. I’m not sure this is a testament to anything but Providence or sheer dumb luck, but right after I approached one client about ending a contract that was tough to fit into my life, another client contacted me about a new opportunity for 2022. The one that ended required a lot of meetings and a level of commitment that I just couldn’t manage with my personal obligations. The new contract is much more flexible and will allow me to do the work anytime that suits me. It’s also a lot more of what I like with a lot less of the work that drains me, so I’m hoping that will fuel my creativity. And I do still have work with the old client–it’s just more project-based and flexible.
On the family front, I am… figuring out what the new year holds. I don’t anticipate any major changes with the two oldest–one is living that Navy life, one has about another 1.5 years to go in college–but of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be major changes. Kid #3 has enlisted in the Air Force and should be leaving in May. Kid #4 is… almost 17, and I feel like that’s all I should say about that.
Looking ahead on the calendar, we have nothing specific upcoming, but calendars are always in flux. My parents are thinking about moving to Idaho now that all of their children have fled Oregon, and of course, I plan to be 100% available to help with that. In addition, there could be any number of visits from friends and family throughout the year or trips back to Oregon to visit friends and family or who knows what else?
So in the midst of what is planned and what is unplanned, how do I navigate and maneuver and try to work and be present for my family and finish a novel and market myself and also maybe try to lose my pandemic weight?
I have no idea.
I am hopeful.
But this isn’t the frivolous hope that I have felt before at the new year. The hope that brings a social media feed full of platitudes and memes and resolutions is one that tends to fade by about January 4. It’s a hope that runs smack dab into reality and gets knocked down the minute one negative event occurs.
No, this is a different hope–one born of years of navigating the unexpected.
The unexpected of the last several years has run the gamut of emotions. There have been events too painful to talk about, but also events full of joy. I’ve struggled to navigate pandemic schooling (still struggling with that, to be honest), increasing workload, an interstate move, and random injuries brought on by age and poor exercise choices. And in the middle of all of those struggles, one thing remains the same:
I get through it.
So I think the hope I’m feeling at the start of this new year is one born of resilience.
I do not think of myself as a particularly resilient person. Generally speaking, I’ve had it pretty good in the course of my 52 years in this mortal coil and haven’t needed a lot of resilience. Most of the things I’ve had thrown at me do not require the kind of resilience of a person who survives decades of war or someone who struggles with chronic illness for years or a parent who must suddenly raise children alone after a tragedy.
But there is still resilience in slogging through the every day slings and arrows and figuring out how to emerge unscathed (or at least a little wiser) on the other side.
So I guess where that leaves me is just taking things one day, week, event, project at a time, making the best choices I can as much as possible, and moving on to the next thing when I’m able.
I don’t know what will happen with Unquickened or my other languishing fiction projects. I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to devote to them. But it is my fervent, resilient hope that allows me to believe that fewer meetings will re-energize my Muse and more flexible commercial projects will allow me time to devote to finishing those projects. All I can say is that I’ll try, and I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime… I wish you all resilience in the new year. I hope that you find joy, laughter, and peace, and that your sorrows are short-lived. And I pray that you come to know a deeper peace and meaning in your life as you navigate the expected and the unexpected.
(Happy, joyous, resilient, peaceful) New Year to you all.