We don’t make resolutions, but we do mark each big turning of the calendar with a theme or a phrase of the year. It can be something philosophical or just a word to keep in mind. Previous themes have included Here be Dragons, the Age of Exploration, and the more goal oriented, but nonetheless philosophical, Strength and Flexibility. I don’t remember last year’s, or the one before that. Those years both belong somewhere out of time.
How do you look to the future when the whole idea of planning is, once again, on the fritz? I’d love to do a year of living randomly, choosing plans and places by throwing dice, but Covid has a monopoly on randomness for a while. We’re all playing Covid roulette against our will.
We keep hearing that Omicron is Covid’s last hurrah, that it will become endemic after this. I recall however hearing the same thing about Delta. I think it’s anyone’s guess, even the epidemiologists’. Speaking of randomness, we have no idea what mutations will arise next next year or even next week. My best guess is the future will be a series of crisis, and not just pandemic-related ones. We will lurch from one to the next with varying degrees of severity. Sorry to be a killjoy, I’m a prepare-for-the-worst-and-hope-for-the-best sort of gal. But life needs to be lived anyway, despite it all. This is the lot we’ve drawn, what we do with it is up to us.
The word that comes to mind for all this is endurance. We have to be good for the long haul, and ready and able to enjoy the interstices. In discussing Covid with friends and acquaintances, I’ve been struck by how some folks declared themselves to be in pretty good shape (plus vaccinated), and thus were not too worried about their chances. Many of these people are not fit in any objective sense. This is not to point out the foibles of others, this is to tell you how I discovered my own blind spot. I realized I would say the same thing. We can’t be objective about ourselves, we only live our own experience. I walk a ton, I exercise. I take the stairs. But stress, confinement, and other restrictions have taken their toll. I’ve been doing an actual workout program in the past few months, one that makes me sweat and swear, and it was humbling to find out I’m at a beginner level. Oof. But you start where you are. I’m not saying that being in better shape will help me avoid ravages of illness, but I am hoping it’ll help me withstand the ravages of time. I’d rather age in a stronger body than a weaker one. Endurance also means the ability to withstand and persevere, in a broader sense. Yeah, I’ll take some of that too please.
Then there’s duration, a related word. (Definition: continuation or persistence in time. Probably the ultimate life-goal.) For years my ambition has been to be improvisational and flexible, willing and able to travel at the drop of a hat. This is no longer a stretch for me. (Yeah, pun intended. Sorry.) It may be time to intentionally slow down and stay put for longer periods of time and embrace a deeper sort of exploration, which is something I’ve long muttered about: making one month in any place our minimum stay. Staying put longer would help with keeping a routine as well. I haven’t fully committed to this idea yet, the fact that it kind of scares me is the best reason to implement it.
So, Endurance and Duration. Ramping up and slowing down. Hoping for good things and being ready to go after them when they come. Perseverance when things suck.
Happy New Year to you, wherever and in whatever condition you find yourself. It’s going to be interesting!
Cheers from Seville!