It’s been a year of ups and downs and mostly waiting. It’s been a year that forced me to be patient, something that I should have learned long ago, but was always too impatient to attempt to do. Somehow in spite of my hissy fits when things were taking too long, the world moved forward at its own pace, not mine. I had to admit through gritted teeth that I can’t always get what I want, when I want it.
It began at the dawn of 2021, when news of pending vaccines began to circulate in earnest. I was so eager to get the protection that the jab promised that I hunted down possibilities late each night and before the sun rose each morning. I became obsessed with the idea of getting those glorious antibodies in my system. As per my personality I was unwilling to just sit back and wait for someone to call and offer me a shot. Getting an appointment for one became a competitive sport, but, alas, I had to wait my turn like everyone else. Soon enough I had completed my series of inoculations and was more than ready to emerge back into the world, that I’d learn was not quite ready to operate on my terms.
I’m that person who gets up before dawn and gets things done weeks before they are due. I know the meaning of procrastination, but have never been a victim of its last minute theory of getting things done. Adapting to a slow motion way of life was difficult for me, but I had no choice but to change my ways, starting with watching my freeze damaged plants take forever to show signs of life again.
I waited weeks for a new fence that took three times longer than normal to build because of strange and unexpected problems. I had to call multiple contractors to repair my chimney because the first folks never showed up for appointments. There was a waiting list for materials and labor that seemed unbearably long. Every situation became one of “hurry up and wait.” Nonetheless by years end the generator I had ordered in March finally arrived and is almost ready to work. The drainage issue that plagued me has been resolved. The materials to repair my damaged trailer finally came after four months.
Life is good and even better than before because this old dog indeed learned some new tricks along the way. I found some earnestly good folks to do the repairs that I needed. I saw that they were as frustrated as I was. I found out how to take a deep breath and be more understanding when life did not follow the revved up timelines that have always guided me. I slowed down along with everyone else, albeit not always willingly.
I have realized more than ever how interconnected we all are. We are in this gigantic boat that is experiencing both violent storms and long periods of the doldrums. We are only going to get through this unprecedented time if we work together and quit complaining and blaming. Every person is trying to navigate the waters as best he or she can. Once I understood and accepted that, I found the humanity in each person who came to help me whether it was the people who gave me those jabs or the laborers who worked in the swampy muck on the side of my house. They all woke up each morning hoping to make the world a little bit better and they rushed around in a slower tempo attempting to meet all of the pent up demands.
I suppose that we will all remember these times. I attempt to write about them because I can’t be sure how much longer I have on this earth to convey a sense of what this tiny point of history has been like. What I do know is that I have encountered hero after hero throughout the year. It may have felt like slow motion, but perhaps it is good that we have had to alter our usual impatience.
We are a nation of plenty. Most of us are accustomed to getting exactly what we want, when we want it. Sadly not everyone enjoys such privilege. Instead of grinching about what we are missing or how much things cost this year, perhaps we should be more aware than ever of the incredible blessings that we have. As Christmas day nears some quiet reflection on how lucky we actually are might provide us with the greatest gift of all, the gift of appreciation.
If all goes well I will gather with my family this year. We will not have to greet each other in a Zoom session like we did last year. We will don our gay apparel which may include masks and proof of vaccination. There will be hugs all around and maybe even some tears of joy after the long wait. Our patience will have lead to a most glorious realization that the only things that matter are people, not possessions.
This year and the one before has taught me to take a deep breath and hope for the best. It has slowed my rambunctious nature. Nothing has to happen right now. The only thing to hurry for is love.