On this last day of the year, I find myself thinking about everything that has happened and sort of in awe that I made it through in one piece. If 2020 was about taking all my certainty and routines and tearing them up in a spectacular manner, 2021 was all about dodging the many curveballs life threw at me. I can’t really say I’m even remotely sorry to see this year end, but I’m wary of what the new year will bring.
So, let’s review this year:
- My mom sustained a traumatic brain injury from a work accident (which was not her fault) in December 2020.
- She was in and out of the hospital all year.
- I was hospitalized in May and spent a lovely (not) nine days on a kidney vacation.
- My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.
- Her surgery was in October, during which her pacemaker stopped working and the doctors had to administer five chest compressions before her pulse came back.
- The year was a blur of doctor appointments for both of us.
I’m tired just looking at that list and this isn’t even all the not great/bad/scary things that happened this year. Still, we made it through and that’s no small feat.
So, what are the lessons I’m taking away from this year?
- Life has a way of hitting you in the face, repeatedly and out of nowhere…
- …but I learned that even at my lowest, when I felt overwhelmed and very alone, I can lean on my community for support and know they won’t let me fall.
- Sometimes I need to take a step back and refocus on what’s truly important, which may mean letting go of certain opportunities and cutting back on my committments.
- I don’t need to keep running this marathon of trying to establish myself professionally. I’m doing more than fine in that regard.
- I (re)learned just how much Judaism and the Temple community mean to me and why I love being part of this community.
At lunch a few months ago, Rabbi Stern asked me if I could ever have imagined myself getting through such huge and difficult life events. Truthfully, no, I would not have thought I would be able to make it through such a tough year. If I’m being really honest, I’ve sort of been waiting for a complete and messy mental breakdown, which hasn’t happened. Sure, I’ve had intense crying spells, but I’ve kept it pretty together otherwise. And that, dear readers, is a major victory.
I’m cautiously hopeful for 2022. There are good things on the horizon and if I can survive such an absolutely shitty year, then I can make it through (mostly) anything.
Happy New Year!