It is New Year’s Day, 2022. I’ve spent much of the day giving myself pep talks.
The holidays this year, for many of us, have been….ok. The replies I’ve received most often from other RW’s when asked how their Christmas (or other Holiday celebrated) has been, are: Good. Fine. Nice. Quiet. As a matter of fact, I have yet to hear “awesome” or “fabulous” or even “excellent.” I know for me, the prep as always was exhausting. The day itself was quiet. I was of course exceedingly thankful that I do not currently have a loved one fighting for their life in a hospital, my house is not burning down, I don’t have to worry about an imminent threat of an invasion from Russia, we are not facing unemployment, or any of the other million things we hear about every day that others are suffering through, and that cause us to lay awake at night. So the fact that I had my son home from college and he and my hubby and I spent the day hanging out comfortably in our warm home in our jammies is beautiful enough. But we, like so many of you, had no visitors, no trips, no parties…. And I think we all have to be ok with admitting that for many of us, the holidays this year were just “meh.” We RW’s go overboard thinking the holidays have to be perfect. And when they don’t quite live up to the ideal in our heads, it can be a hard nut to crack, kind of like the bowl of walnuts on my dining table now going stale. But really, it’s ok to admit to blah. Just like we can admit that 2021 was not a stellar improvement over the prior year. A whole year of meh.
If any of us can name at least 6 good things that happened in our lives in ’21, then we should count our blessings. It is because of that I believe there was less excitement, less hoopla, less giddy hope this time around for New Year’s Eve.
In our household, we rang in the New Year in the most lackluster unexciting manner possible. Sickness has crept into our four walls and without giving details I can say it is requiring quarantining and togetherness while feeling kinda crappy and short-tempered. Did I mention also that we haven’t seen sunshine in about 5 days? You can see why my need for SPTs (Self Pep Talks) today.
This afternoon, my antsy-pansty dogs had just about enough of this moping around thing, so I loaded them in the car and took them to one of our favorite short walking trails around what is usually a beautiful pond. The weather is grey and drizzly, and since this location is at a fairly high elevation, by the time we arrived it was socked in by fog. Appropriate for my mood, we set out on our walk – because I’ve always been on outdoor-kinda gal. I look for clarity and peace in nature, and Mom Nature always delivers.
The pond is not a large one. We can walk around the entire thing in about 30 minutes, and that includes the doggo pause-to-sniff-and-pee moments. We paused at a big rock at the edge of the pond that we frequently stand or sit on to enjoy the view, and today beyond the rock was a vastness of grey. The fog was so thick it was impossible to see where water, land and sky met. It of course got me thinking about perspective. Perhaps instead of trying to see the future, or figure it out (because we RW’s always want to know what’s next), and wax on and on about “will 2022 finally be a GOOD year??” — just maybe we should accept the mystery of what lies ahead. Maybe we aren’t meant to know it all, and we can only focus on what is immediately ahead of us. What if we look ahead more like Nancy Drew on her next epic adventure, unraveling the mystery of life bit by bit? Perhaps then we can accept each day with interest instead of dread.
We moved on, the dogs fascinated by every rock, root and lump of mud, dipping their toes and noses into the pond at every opportunity. At one point, after climbing a hill deeper into the woods, one of my pups stopped. She wasn’t pulling at the lead to chase down a big scent, or begging for a treat, or whining to go another direction. She just paused to look, listen, and smell. So I stopped too. My other pup, who is just goofy and follows our lead stopped and just looked at us. It was so quiet, all we could hear, beyond the very distant hum of cars on a road, was the dripping of moisture off the trees landing on the wet leaves below. That was it. No birds chirping, no squirrels rustling, no wind, no other people. We three just stopped for a couple of minutes to just be. I took a few deep breaths and relished the peace.
It’s uncanny, really, how my dogs seem to know what I need, even when I don’t want to admit it initially (my goal for the afternoon was to work on undecorating the house). But that damp walk in the woods letting the mystery of the foggy day envelope us, was the shift in perspective I needed. It was the next story in my SPT to help me understand how to walk the path out of the grey.
Of course I hope that 2022 improves, and that much of the sadness and challenges around us ease and we feel more joy, better health, and above all – get back to treating each other with good old fashioned kindness. I’ve decided to lower expectations a bit; we all need to ease up on our anxiety of perfection. We can’t assume flipping the calendar to a new year will solve all of our problems. But by taking one step through the fog at a time, stopping to appreciate the good we can find around us, and look toward the mystery of the future with good anticipation instead of dread, we just might set ourselves up for a year of Yay instead of Meh.
Happy New Year!