January ends tomorrow after what might feel like months of it. Has it been an especially long one for you like I’ve heard others complain it has been for them? It’s actually been pretty, I don’t know, pleasant for me? As far as Januarys go, anyway. Climate change is awful and I worry about our kids’ future on this planet, but if having 55-degree days in the middle of winter in NYC is the silver lining — is there a silver lining in our planet burning before our eyes? — I’ll take it, I guess. I’ve only worn gloves a handful of times. Anyhoo, my year is off to a pretty fine start is what I’m trying to say, all things considered. (And when I consider how hard the start of the year has been for other people, I do feel a little guilty, but listen, life ebbs and flows and I know the other shoe will drop for me again in time so I’ll enjoy “easy enough” while I’ve got it.)
I was watching a clip of Shaquille O’Neal the other day where he’s breaking down over the loss of his friend, Kobe Bryant, and saying how hard this is hitting him especially after the recent loss of his sister. I’m not a basketball fan or a sports fan and I don’t know much about either Shaq or Kobe — you could have told me they played for a basketball team called the Oakland A’s and I probably would’ve just nodded — so I did a little research and found that Shaq’s sister died in October, and then I realized why his particular grief, and watching him break down on TV over his dead friend, especially resonated with me. I lost my close friend who was like a brother to me almost exactly a year ago (he died from complications following a car crash), shortly after the consecutive deaths of my beloved grandmother and then my 19-year-old cat who was like a soulmate to me. I remember reading up about how grief intensifies after multiple losses in a close period like that – which, duh, makes sense, but also explained why the grief felt overwhelming for so many months when I thought it should be lessening.
Last year – 2019 – felt like a long lesson for me in dealing with grief (and moving into middle age), and it’s with a lot of relief and gratitude that I find that 2020 has started on a much lighter note. My kids are a year older now — 4 1/2 and 8 — and more independent and that has also lightened the burden of motherhood to a more manageable – and enjoyable – level. We’re taking out first international trip as a family of four in April, a few days after Drew’s 50th (!) birthday (we’re going to Mexico). And after a little over two years in our home and dealing with several surprise issues with it, we’re finally feeling a lot more settled (although, damnit, the ceiling in Joanie’s bedroom still leaks when it rains really hard, even after having three different crews of people work to try to locate and fix the leak). We got a new bed a few months ago, around the same time I started doing pilates two or three times a week, and my back doesn’t hurt anymore like it had for a couple years. So, in a nutshell: as I move into my mid-40s, I’m trucking along and feeling pretty good.
How about you? How’s the start of your year? What’s good and what’s not? Anything you’re especially looking forward to on the horizon? What’s giving you hope?