We returned home yesterday from Christmas with my family in Louisiana, and the trip, an unexpected 12+ hours, was utterly horrific. It involved everything from no available food to multiple missed flights, to gate agents closing the doors in my and the boys’ faces to a “customer service” representative behaving so badly that I ended up sobbing. We finally got home at midnight, and I slept fitfully.
Nonetheless, we are fortunate, and I hold that front and center. We’re home, safe, warm, and so loved. Several days ago, four generations of us played a spirited round of Hearts- Jack, Ol, me, my mom, my dad’s mom who turned 93 that very day. The next day, Mom and I brought flowers to Nanny’s grave. We rearranged the scattered rocks into the hearts shaped by Oliver years ago. Then I hugged my niece and nephew once more. We’re lucky.
As we close out 2018-Tom and I well-fed and Nutmeg purring next to us, the boys with our other nieces at my mother-in-law’s having the best time (they are such great cousins) and a slumber party- there is no way that I’ll make it to midnight. That’s fine.
I know I’ve not been in this space nearly as much this year as in past; I think that’s how things will remain, for a variety of reasons. In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with a few of my thoughts before one last episode of Killing Eve.
Thank you. From oldest to newest, those I’ve met through and because of Em-i-lis continue to make me feel so lucky. Eli, Amanda, Christine, Elan, Monika, and on and on. I love knowing you. I’m glad you’re out there.
Follow your heart and your inner voice. That sounds cheesy, especially this time of year, but what I mean is, trust yourself. If someone isn’t actually a good friend, leave or change the relationship. If you’ve always want to try something, do. If you want to meet someone or get to know them better, reach out. If you think some help might be positive, find it. Therapy is great.
Consider the difference between healthy competition and its ugly kin, toxic one-upping. If you’re a parent, please keep in mind what messages you share with your children. Don’t make their worth contingent on diminishing other kids’ value. Don’t snitch, don’t try to out, don’t compare. It’s ugly, it’s sad, it invalidates everything your child might be or is. It makes them see others as competition versus colleagues. It makes you, well, you figure it out. There’s room for all of us. There really is. Be the good. Please.
Politically, for those inclined, the fight is ahead of us. After Trump, we will need to heal. It will be hard and it’s going to take a very long time. Stand your ground but remain open. Relativism serves no one. If everything is offensive, nothing is. Some things are wrong. End of story. Others are based on perspective, worthy of discussion. For racism, for example, there is no room. It makes all of us less. For real, fact-based political discourse, there is all the room. It makes all of us better. Please consider your beliefs malleable. Those who act as drying concrete only serve to entrench polarization. Read. Be informed. Be willing to learn. Be willing to change if the facts suggest it worthy to do so. Stand for what is right.
Be kind. Be generous. Give. Serve. In any way, in all ways you can. Your family, neighbors, strangers, animals, the earth, those in dire need. I promise you that generosity feels so good. I know that most if not all of you know that. I’m just thinking about how kindness really goes such a long way, and how much so many need some right now.
Words matter. They impact and count, so be accurate, think before you speak, respond rather than react when you can. Try to steer clear of nuance’less thinking; little is black or white.
Goodnight, be well, here’s to a 2019 that is truly better for all of us.