I have always loved January 1st– a day when the world puts away the old, counting the passing of 12 months with all the joys and disappointments that year might contain.
Almost as one, we turn to the next calendar with goals and pledges and dreams, boldly stepping into a new year, knowing perfectly well it is not likely to be much more successful than the last.
January 1st exemplifies the enduring hope and optimism of humans to me.
I like the day so much- I decided to create a new holiday a few years back. “Happy New Half-Year Day” is not -yet- a national holiday (Michael advises me I need a catchier name), but it’s one of my favorite days of the year.
So, what do I see this morning, looking back on the awakening of July and the Half-Year to come?
- January 1st, the COVID vaccine is a reality, and we start the “Hunger Games” waiting and watching to see who gets it
- An inauguration before a field of flags with a young woman as brilliant in her delivery as in her vision of what is best of America
- Jan 6th and all that entails- still unfolding
- The bond between the streets and law enforcement- always fragile- now splintered with no agreement on how it’s shattered or who broke the peace (as we all learn- too late- that accord never existed in many neighborhoods in our country)
- The suicides, opioid crisis, and alcoholism raging behind doors that have been closed for too long
- Wood prices and lack of laborers and questions about how- and whether- we should return to before-times.
- Crashing dreams as the blue wave becomes a blue corona around a divided DC in total eclipse
- Obamacare is safe forever, carried through the last significant Supreme Court challenge on a technicality
- Watching friends and family in other countries struggle with a COVID like our memories, but beyond our current reality. Desperately hoping they, too, can get a vaccine
- Young school-age kids losing their fledgling independence- now scared to leave home years beyond the norm
- The droves of nurses leaving the field because it was scary- but most of all because it Hurt. Too. Damn. Much.
- The perpetual aviators and enthusiasm of Joe Biden
- Women and children and elderly who lost the protection of the public- locked in with their abusers for 16 months.
- Checking in with Mom’s retirement center to see who made it through. So few did- and those that did lost parts of themselves- the understanding part, the thinking part, the personality part
- Relationships lost without ever knowing that the fateful moment of meeting was canceled sometime last Fall. They will never know they never met
- Wondering if the world can recover, and when, as we cancel yet another trip to our beloved France
- Approaching retirement and I see my generation wondering if it is worth getting back into the saddle- knowing the ranks behind us are fervently hoping we won’t be able to complete the re-mount
- A “save-the-date” announcement from a young couple delaying their marriage for the third time
- We win the battle over COVID only to see individual choices destroy any hope for herd immunity
- A lot of empty chairs across the world as my family plans to finally bury our parents in Connecticut this summer
The possibility of moving forward. Never forgetting but bringing new appreciation for our temporal life into our futures.
Growing old and letting go because we are grateful we survived, in every sense of the word.
Holding Michael and our kids and our family and community and planet closer- because nothing seems a given anymore.
Taking the raw beauty of life as a tangible, fragile, yet constantly rejuvenating hope around us- and never wanting to take it for granted again.
Happy New Half-Year to Every One of You and to those you hold dear.