Hasn’t it been the strangest few weeks/fall/year/lifetime?
Though part of me feels like 2016 has flown by, another part of me thinks about everything that has happened in 11 months and thinks, yes, that’s definitely a year’s worth of stuff. The kind of stuff that makes me realize that when I look back on my life I will have forgotten so much but not this year. Around me, people are pretty openly resentful about 2016. I don’t blame them. I’ve watched people suffer as individuals, as part of a community, as an entire human race. Small tragedies that make us sigh when we inadvertently let our polite façades slip. Huge, insurmountable challenges that make previous realities feel like we must have been wearing rose-colored lenses. Of course, I don’t intend to discredit any fortune that came to me or anyone else this year or to say everything was horrific period. My point is: what an unforgettable time to be alive.
Thanksgiving arrived amidst a whirlwind of history in chaotic motion, forcing us to reconcile gratitude with widespread conflict. I know it sounds ridiculous but I wasn’t sure how to even express my own personal gratitude for things without it coming across as forced. There’s a difference between saying you’re grateful and really feeling it, undeniably, as a personal truth. With something people tout as aggressively as gratitude as a tool for wellness, I was extra weary about approaching it insincerely (but for cold stir-fry from a ziploc bag at 6AM in an airport terminal I am truly thankful and I’m not being tongue-in-cheek).
You just can’t overthink things too much with me. With all that I just said, let me throw caution to the wind and say some things that made me amused/happy/thankful over the recent holiday:
My dad tracks his voting record by leaving “I voted” stickers on his dashboard and writing the year on them.
My mother asked me where I’d like to be born in my next life. I haven’t decided?
Breakfast. To be able to start every single day having something to feed yourself is the pinnacle of luxury.
Technology. Every night I curled up in bed, uninterrupted for what felt like the first time all year, watched TV completely warm from head to toe, and I couldn’t believe how good it felt, even crying at a sad scene or relating more than I’d like to someone’s seemingly impossible plight–how good that felt, to feel that stinging alone in a soft bed under a heavy blanket.
I also added my dad to my Netflix account and it felt so good seeing how excited he was to be able to watch the later seasons of The Andy Griffith Show (that are in color!). He’s asked me how he can find Westerns on Netflix and that just makes me happy. I’ve given him the gift of binge-watching.
The Bay. The other day I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve done that so rarely even having grown up not too far from it. Its grandness is so uncaptured in any touristy rendition on postcard or otherwise–it really is a site to behold up close. As we drove across the sun was falling softly into the bay and the bridge was growing before us, tall and out of reach. Both things side by side, nature and architecture were incredible. Just amazingness that you instantly miss afterwards.
Having more than I know I have. Knowing less than there is to know. Because that means that there’s more out there for me to get to, and I can take comfort in that. Imagine how hard it would be to feel like you knew all there was and that was it. Stupidity can be a relief.