The Turning of the Year

Y’all. 2017 has been rough.

I don’t think that comes as a surprise to anyone. Almost everyone I know feels a bit beaten about the head by this year, and when you look at our political circumstances… Well.

It’s been rough on a personal level, too. In the spring, I made the difficult decision to leave a job I’d been in for seven years and a town I’d been in for almost a decade. There was a lot that I loved about being there. There was a lot that was increasingly giving me panic attacks. Change of some kind was necessary. It was also hard. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, after all. Finding the energy to make that change required me to dig deep into reserves I hadn’t tapped for a while.

And at first, that change went well. Spending the summer at the beach was restorative. I love being there, I love working at that bookstore, and just being in that environment is excellent for my spirit. Unfortunately, I then undid all the good effects by making a move that I almost immediately came to regret. The past four months have been almost unrelentingly stressful, for a wide variety of reasons. I think with some frequency of a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale: “I feel like the word ‘shatter’.”

IMG_3698Today is the winter solstice, a time for reflection — and a time for hope. Yule is the holiday where I try to focus on shedding what is no longer needed from the previous year and on bringing in the light that will guide me into the next.

Oddly, the song that comes to mind isn’t a seasonal song at all — it’s from The Lion King musical, “Endless Night”. The refrain of I know that the night must end and that the sun will rise is such an appropriate sentiment for this holiday — and it’s a good thing to keep in mind during trying times.

I don’t know what 2018 is going to hold. My book will come out, but Juno knows that’s no guarantee of success. I have irons in a few fires, but who knows what will catch? I’ll be making another move, but will it be any happier than this one?

This is a year when… it’s hard to have hope. In a year when it’s felt like the very act of hoping for something is a jinx, it feels like a waste of effort.

But the night must end. The sun will rise.

May it do so for all of us.

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