Well, it finally happened. The day before Christmas break, I was headed out to see a client when a coworker sent the news: she had COVID. I tested, and within seconds found that I had it, too. Meetings altered, I didn’t feel lousy.. yet. Of course, I did get sicker within a short time, not the least because an already-awful year was about to end in an even shittier way. Forgive my language, but it is truly appropriate.

Some things in the last year have been good. It is the year that two little tabbies moved in, for example. But it has been a year of stress and incredible financial hardship. In this year where I could not afford to buy a single Christmas gift, I had steeled myself to the idea that at least I could decorate the house and make a warm and fun environment where we would celebrate together. The heater on the house broke in early December as I was on a roll toward decorating, then I fell and badly hurt my hand, and then… COVID. Add to that the lien on my property taxes from a water bill I couldn’t afford, the threats from the city about peeling paint on my house (code violations), instability of situations I encounter everyday, and issues with insurance (dental, disability, health…), and I still look for that silver lining, the pot of gold, the very good things in my life–and there are many. But I have to admit, I have been panicked a lot, as the bills stack up. I find myself tearing up, thinking how hard I have worked for all of this to topple so quickly. A call from my mortgage company was tough… I did pay, but he wasn’t nice. Even when I was sick. I don’t know, but maybe he didn’t believe me.

Part of the tough times have stemmed largely by the general rudeness that seems to be flying around. I feel like a grouch when I say things like this, but I don’t like to speed through residential neighborhoods, and I feel particularly menaced when big trucks tailgate me when I drive the legal speed.

I feel like an old lady when I complain about lack of kindness. And I feel happy and loved when a neighbor puts some soup between my door on Christmas night. I feel lonely and want nothing but to be with all of my kids, and then my cats sleep at my feet for the entire duration of this awful disease. My friend sneaks a conversation with me while running errands during her one break in the whole week, and I am blessed by her, I know.

Brighter days must be ahead, I know. My taste of smell is returning… after the sore throat, it was the most annoying symptom, perhaps, verifying to me that I do depend on it for everything from driving to cleaning… beyond the obvious cooking and eating part of it all.

Yesterday, I found the calendar I bought for a couple of years in the past. I hadn’t been able to find it before it sold out the past several years, but it was half price at Barnes & Noble, so I made my way to a nearby location to pick it up. It is beautiful, and simple, and everything I want to look at as I carve my 2023 into something happier than the last year. I have so much to bless, and I want to discard the things that are not working. This is the path to the life I need.

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