We’ve all really been through it this year.
I don’t know how anyone can endure the twin stressors of a pandemic and a particularly fraught and consequential presidential election and rise above it to be your best self.
Regardless of your political persuasion, and I know there are plenty of people who read this blog that don’t share mine, I hope that we all can agree that the result of this election is an opportunity to at least lower the temperature (hopefully literally), whatever our differences.
Personally, I didn’t realize the extent of the breaths I had been holding until I emerged on Saturday afternoon feeling like my lungs were full of clear, cool air. I didn’t realize how precariously my emotions were balanced on a knife edge until I heard the cheers and horns erupting spontaneously in Brooklyn well into the night, and saw people dancing deliriously in the streets.
I would prefer to feel the relief of a surer and more total victory against the cruelty that has animated this moment in history. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to learn that merely staving off sheer terror is what really gets people dancing with unbridled joy.
I’m completely exhausted and wrung out by this year. I feel like every nerve in my body has been carved up with a paring knife and I barely have it in me to write this post today.
But for the first time all year I can feel glimmers of hope. The sky is still very dark and nothing is guaranteed, but the faintest light has emerged on the horizon.
Some that we lost this year can never be retrieved. Some losses are incalculable. Some people are still trying to merely survive.
But if you’re like me and many of my friends and loved ones, this year has also been like a hurricane that has broken off many of the weak branches in our lives. We’ve shed much of what’s extraneous or unfruitful and have shrunken down to what’s truly necessary and sustainable.
When we emerge, and we will eventually, it will be with a new understanding of what’s truly important and meaningful to us. A lot of our personal detritus has been swept out to sea. I’m excited to write and live as the changed person I am after this year.
The headline of this post is intentional. I know full well the storm’s not over. But for the first time in a very long time I can imagine the world that will exist after it passes.
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Art: Albert Bierstadt – Thunderstorm in the Rocky Mountains