For many of us, we are, now, able to say, “My, what a year!”
We are able to look back. We have the privilege to look back, because we made it. I believe that is cause for gratitude, if not some celebration. It has indeed been a turbulent year.
And yet, we do not arrive whole.
In one way or another, we are incomplete. Some of us are in tatters; we stand at the turn of the year with our heads turned back, longing for the pieces of us that didn’t make it. Grieving, for the ones we lost. Loved, unloved, known, unknown — our fists are tight.
Losses marred the months — economic, financial, social, emotional; many of them too large for us to comprehend, but some close enough that we’ve become too occupied or tired to.
As conversations lean towards reflection, it is rare (but welcome) to hear people calling 2020 a good year of great change. Great change, yes, definitely; but good?
Fragility and impermanence were valuable, painful lessons. We learned to fight invisible enemies. We learned to accept plans that couldn’t go through. We learned to appreciate our private spaces, and the proximity of other breathing bodies. Maybe, we had to do a bit of unlearning too.
I have anger in me. This discontent surfaces and resurfaces, as I sit with myself tonight, last night, and the night before, and I don’t know why.
Maybe I envisioned this year to be the year. My year. A little foolish in hindsight, but I mustn’t discredit the peace that hope brings.
And it is with this same hope that I will hold with me, as we move into 2021, albeit with much more elasticity, grace, and allowance.
Memory will be the witness to my losses and lessons. Memory, the mother of the muses, the harbinger of both fondness and hurt; in equal intensity we are both plagued and blessed by it.
Yet we often overlook one of the greatest gifts of humanity — forgetfulness. Forgetfulness, the sister of memory, and the goddess of ease.
Forgetfulness, the great healer.
I loathe to forget; all my life I regarded my poor memory as a weakness. This year changed that.
I have come to realise that a great part of my good cheer is half-owing to the inability to conjure up certain distant memories at will. Though I must clarify — I do not go about intentionally forgetting, as if I hold no respect for any thing; in fact, I write everything I can remember into my journal, and revisit it frequently.
The night deepens as I write this, and my discontent subsides. The crickets and insect song began at dusk, but now I hear them again. They will continue all night, and they will continue tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
Let us mend.