No one expects…

I think most of us took the word expect and predict out of our vocabularies this year. This has been a year of the unexpected and (to a degree) the unpredictable. I was thinking about last year’s end of year post and trying to decide if and how to write one this year. There’s not really a good way to sum this up, it’s been a roller coaster. Thankfully, it looks like we might be on the last few full loops before the end of this ride.

In thinking about this year, a few things have come to the top of my mind:

I’ve been told I’m good in a crisis (this relates to the topic at hand, I promise). This is a benefit-ish of the the way I tend to process my anxiety. Sometimes it’s like my brain is on a permanent doom scroll. This means I’ve usually run through countless potential scenarios and responses/ outcomes. So, most times I have an idea of what to do next when the unexpected rears its’ head and I don’t have to think too hard, I just have to do the next thing.

Then 2020 happened.

I’ll turn it over to Monty Python for a second here…

Substitute global pandemic for Spanish Inquisition, and yup, that about covers it.

It’s a little disconcerting to realize even with hours worrying and planning for (I thought) everything possible- I hadn’t even gotten close to the way events rolled out this year. That’s a lot of wakeful hours spent over the years- and I still had to make things up this year as I went along.

My biggest takeaway from this year was a pretty blunt reminder that you cannot prepare or plan for everything. The best you can do is just look for the next choice and go from there. It’s a tough concept for a control freak a planner to wrap their brain around. If I’m going to reframe this in a positive light- I am achieving new levels of flexibility and adaptability.

I should note- on a greater geopolitical/ social level, so much of what has happened in 2020 should absolutely have been expected. That’s a discussion for another time as I don’t think I can give it the deserved detail and attention today. There are also so many writers more qualified than I am to speak on many of the inequalities and injustices of this year and I feel it’s been best to share their voices rather than add in my less informed/experienced opinion.

Like everyone else I’ve looked for inspiration this year and have found many sources, thankfully. One that has been on my mind a lot has been the Queen. Binging The Crown most likely had something to do with this. Living in England probably factors in too.

I’ve thought a lot this year about World War Two and the hardships and separations experienced by those who lived through that time in history. I don’t feel like it is a perfect comparison as there are many differences in circumstances and the way this year has been experienced, especially compared to the average American’s experience on the home front during the war. However, The Queen is in the unique position (among many other very unique aspects of her life) of being someone who can speak with authority on both of these times in history. Her speech in March, at the start of lockdown, has popped up in my mind again and again as the months have gone by this year. This was at the point the reality of how long this could go on and what that would mean for me personally was just dawning. I have now been out of the US the longest I have ever been in my life, and this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing my parents, as well as many other family and friends.

The Queen referenced lyrics from a song popular during the war, which have become increasingly appropriate as time has passed this year,

“We will meet again”

I have come back to these words again and again this year, and I’m sure I will keep them in my mind for the coming months.

I know this it is true and with each passing day we get closer to the day where we will meet again and this current reality becomes a chapter for the history books.

Last year, I wrapped up with a joke about my new favorite shirt:

Clearly… I had no idea just how much foreshadowing was happening there.

In related news, I think I might be retiring this shirt.

Just in case.

Happy New Year everyone. Stay safe, and hopeful that better days are coming soon.

4 thoughts on “No one expects…

  1. Wonderful thoughts, as always! You remind so much of Annie. Happy New Year to you and yours and let’s hope this year is a just a little more – plannable!

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  2. It is so difficult letting go and not being able to plan properly. It’s probably helped a lot of people become more flexible, simply because we’ve had no choice. Keep hopeful. Better days are ahead, after all, the sun shines brighest after a storm. xx

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