A Good Year.

Three days into the new year, and I’m seeing the holiday season coming to a close. No more holiday lights on our fence. No more long weekends and short work weeks. No more stretches of time for puzzles and Scrabble. It’s time to return to the regular work schedule and all that comes with that. Going to bed early. Meetings throughout the day. Deadlines. As is often the case this time of year, I’m trying to figure out how to carry the calm of this season into regular life.

This season has been inordinately calm. Dave and I did not travel. We did not spend the holidays with either of our families. It’s been just us at home the whole time, and that has been beyond lovely. We are pretty low key together. We cook. We rest. We go for walks. We do stuff around the house. We have a low-stress, low-tension, low-drama environment, for which I am eternally grateful. That’s not to say that we did not see people. We did. We had a couple of good friends over for some porch time. We have done family Zooms. We have seen my parents here and there. It’s just been easier than normal because the waves we have been riding have largely been our own, and they’ve been largely non-existent.

I think the highest moment of tension between us happened on New Year’s Eve. I was trying to air up tires on my bikes and could not get the pump to latch correctly to the valve. I must have tried twenty times and then poor Dave walked in and heard me practically ready to throw the pump and both bikes across the room. When he tried to say something soothing, I told him to leave because I was in a foul mood, and he did. He went to the grocery store. And by the time he returned home, I’d finishing pumping the tires, put everything away, showered and cleared away the urge to scream at the top of my lungs. It was an uncharacteristically strained moment, and it was fleeting.

Aside from that, things have been smooth sailing around here. It’s been one of the best holidays ever, which I know is strange to say given all that is happening in the world. But my truth is that I feel that way about 2020. For me, it was a sweet season of working from home, not driving two hours a day, and spending the bulk of my time with one of my favorite people in the world. Sure, it was sad and awkward in many ways, but mostly, I felt really fortunate to still have my work and to be able to live simply and quietly in my little corner of the world. There was suddenly so little that we “had” to do.

I felt really fortunate to be able to celebrate Christmas and the New Year simply and quietly as well. We did quite a bit of organizing around the house and even started cataloging my books (which has been a fun project of the last few days). We went on a hike and also strolled through a nearby city park. We celebrated both of our birthdays quietly together at home. We rested a lot and played games and laughed. We both read more than normal even for us. It’s been delightful.

And it continues to be delightful. Going forward, I’m excited about continuing to read as much as I’ve been reading the last few weeks. I’m excited about getting back to training after a few weeks of just doing whatever workouts I felt like doing. I’m excited about knitting more, as I have a list of projects clear in my head now. There’s nothing I’m dreading right now, which is weird for me. I feel oddly…light.

I think my calm comes from the simplicity that last year brought. From staying at home. From mostly eating at home. From riding, running and swimming regularly in my town. From basically never driving. And from shutting out much of the outside world. Things “out there” continue to be stressful. I have been remedying that by looking mostly “in here.” And given that my “in here” involves the nicest man I know, two of the cutest cuddle-bugs I could ever ask for, patio furniture that beckons even in the colder temperatures, and more books than I will probably finish in my lifetime, I think I’m good. I think I’m really good.

So on this final day of the holiday season, I will knit and perhaps watch a couple more episodes of Cobra Kai. Or maybe I’ll wait on the Cobra Kai, as the first couple of episodes of Season Three were quite violent and stressful. I will decide what book to start next and maybe go for a walk with Dave. And then, as evening rolls around, I’ll get my head into the intentions I have in mind for the week ahead, which are to work more than I complain, listen more than I talk, write more than I read, and appreciate every moment I have with the sweet souls who share space with me. Like this little guy…

Happy new year, everyone. May it be a sweet year ahead for all of us.

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