Today is the day we say goodbye to the old year, and welcome the new one.
2019, like all years had its ups and downs for everyone. A journalist on Twitter has a daughter who received a liver transplant. Whatever downs he’s had in the last twelve months don’t seem that insurmountable as they did on the last December 31st/January 1st. The same for my friend whose daughter just had her first child, a daughter, several weeks earlier than planned, premature, very low weight, but breathing on her own and doing great. They both are. Whatever comes is a blessing to her.
I’ve been thinking of President Obama. I recently finished Samantha Power’s book, The Education of an Idealist, and I am incredibly saddened by what could have been during the Obama years had the Republicans not been so power hungry, prejudiced, and obstructionist. I saw so many things behind the scenes (from her book and other staffers, but it really brought it home to me with her book), and the victories for the American people were wonderful (the passage of the ACA, the Lily Ledbetter Act, Marriage Equality (Oberfell), the Paris Accords, Cuba relations, and so much more), I also saw how much didn’t happen. I missed a lot of that in the real time that it was happening. For Obama’s eight years, I was comfortable. I slept at night. I was able to ignore politics because I trusted that we would be kept safe. And we were. In 2016, I voted, and went to bed well into the morning in mourning. It wasn’t quite like 9/11, but the trauma and the emotional toll was close. Since then, I haven’t let my fear, my anxiety, my depression stop me from speaking my mind. And as we enter 2020, the only real resolution I have is to be more politically active; in my writing, in campaigning, in my speaking out, in my truth-telling. For several months, I haven’t let feelings stop me from expressing truth and calling out lies. It has not won me any friends, but I won’t let lies win the day. There is no both sides. There is no alternative facts. And fake news isn’t an answer to dedicated journalists. I will never forget Merrick Garland. I will never forget the damage the Senate Majority Leader has wreaked on our Republic, our Constitution. Never.
I am not making everything political. Everything IS political. Politics rules our lives; from the health care system and insurance to civil rights and women’s EQUAL rights which unbelievably we still do not have. Equal protection, reproduction, bodily autonomy. Who I can marry.
2020 is a new year, a new decade, a leap year, and an election year.
It’s time to get up and promote what we believe in. I believe in one nation. I believe in people helping others when there’s no benefit for themselves. Selfless. Self-sacrificial. Faith-based, but based on your OWN faith (or absence of it).
Something else to think and meditate about coming at 11:30 and beginnings coming tomorrow, including my 2019 Book List.
Have a Happy New Year, a Blessed New Year, and think about who you want to be in 2020, and the years that follow. That is my resolution/goal/intention for the next three months.
This won’t publish until tomorrow morning, but as I write this it is many things for many people today: it’s the day after Christmas, which makes it the First Day of Christmas. It is also the fifth night of Chanukah. It is Boxing Day. It is the first day of Kwanzaa. Please add your holidays in the comments, and I can add them to my yearly calendar for next year.
I had so many intentions for writing and publishing last week, and part of the week before, including a a reflection on gratitude, a short commentary on something my priest said during a homily about everyday is Thanksgiving or at least the opportunity for thanksgiving, the emotional legacy I feel for the new Star Wars movie as well as something Supernatural finale related, holiday photos of our family’s menorah and Christmas tree as well as other shared instagram-type posts. The one thing I really tried to get done was a special Mental Health Monday before Christmas with ways to avoid holiday stress.
Instead of writing about it, and offering some advice I decided to take my unwritten as of yet advice, and not worry about writing and posting (among a few household things). For one thing, every time I looked at my ever increasing list of writing projects, I blanked. I closed the computer or the Kindle, and I walked away. There were presents to be wrapped, cards to be mailed (which had its own special stress for the lateness that they were received by me and losing my address book), our tree wasn’t up yet, our stove wasn’t working and I wasn’t sure how we were going to prepare Christmas dinner*. I tried to write to avoid the stress of the holidays that were on a timeline, and in making an editorial timeline at this time was really stressing me out. Each time I postponed a day’s planned posting, it increased my stress. And this isn’t why I write. While there is good and valuable stress that comes with my writing choices, this last week and some days was truly giving me bad, debilitating stress.
Once I made the decision to not write until after Christmas Day I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
There are six days left to this year, and it’s been quite a year. It is not only a year ending, but an entire decade. It’s kind of a big deal. I will write again before the New Year and then after as I discover which direction I want to travel in with my writing.
My advice for the rest of this week is:
TAKE TIME FOR YOU. If you’re working, spend your break times eating, hydrating, meditating, reading or whatever it is that you do for you. At home, take time for you. You’ve worked hard all year; take a little time for yourself.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and have a Blessed and Peaceful upcoming New Year.
*A quick note on these things:
The presents got wrapped.
The cards we ordered from an online photo card store didn’t come, but we did receive another family’s cards. It took a little longer to get our own cards, but we did. No big deal, and an unavoidable delay. I sent the cards out in waves, and it turned out all good.
I found my address book that has ALL of my addresses.
We got our tree and lights up. My son put his Santa hat on the top, and it looks very cute.
Our oven hasn’t worked for months and we are buying a new stove. Unfortunately, it won’t be delivered until the weekend. (My son is already planning on baking a pizza the first night!) Fortunately, a generous friend offered us her countertop convection oven, and Christmas dinner was saved!
It all works out in the end, doesn’t it.
“To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.”
– Philip Andrew Adams
How will I make tomorrow better?
By tomorrow, I don’t mean December 4th, but tomorrow in the extisential sense. During the weekend before Thanksgiving, I attended a retreat with the theme of joy. I went into it with a low mood hanging over my head, and left a bit better. Today is even better, and tomorrow can be too. 2020 is just around the corner, and putting aside politics for mere moments (it’s hard, I know), but putting it aside a moment, there is so much that can go right in 2020, and every moment is an opportunity; every failure or perceived failure, another chance. Learn from everything. Blog. Journal. Share. We are together; never alone.
Have a blessed December whatever your beliefs are.