Equal Parts

I believe maybe we thought that after two years of actively fighting COVID, supply chain issues, inflation, political upheaval, shrinkflation and more, maybe 2022 would have turned it all around.  What do you think?

It’s been, in moments, a massively challenging year around here.  But there have been glimmers of joy and delight as well.  Let’s just call it even, as to equal parts of happiness and sadness.

For the second day in a row, I was on my back from a mild but noticeable reaction to a vaccine.  My daughter and husband gave me an appropriate amount of needed pity and encouraged me to rest.

It’s sort of funny that I’m someone who needs encouragement to rest.  But I do, how about you?

At eleven a.m. I responded from my bed, to my daughter’s supportive text, “I can’t guarantee that I won’t get a bee in my bonnet later and dig in to what needs done.”  My thoughts then turned to the bipolar character of life for many folks around the globe.

In the form of a disclaimer, please note that my thoughts in this or any of my columns are in no way making light of bipolar disorder or any other very real mental health issues.  I’m simply using the convenient and writerly adjective, “bipolar,” to describe opposing behaviors or moods that pop up in quick succession amongst most people, few of whom are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I’ve noticed people this year have been surprising, delightful, frustrating, understanding, angry, supportive, uncooperative, generous, selfish, unexpected, and predictable.  It’s been a year of paradox, opposites in juxtaposition.

It feels at times like the universe is bipolar, not just people.

How many ways can you say difficult, hard, challenging, or not easy?  But then, the character of one’s day eases into a sort of fluidity, making the skeptical among us wonder, “what’s going on, and when is the hammer going to drop?”  Happy and sad, grumpy and glad. 

I’ll be awake at night and it’ll randomly occur to me, “I’m happy.”  That may seem weird, but it’s usually obvious even to the densest of us, when we’re sad.  But, happiness creeps up on you.

It’s been a year of crazy and calm.  For example, most days include a few notably crazy moments.  Frankly, in my word, those moments are often related to some sort of customer support network which is far from supportive, if not the cause of the crazy.

Or some corporation with which we have a relationship throws a curve into our orderly life, with a “creative accounting system,” which makes sense only to them. The calm usually comes after a fight full of fury and no fulfillment, and I’ve decided with very concerted effort, to “calm down and let it settle itself.”

Honestly, we could all say that we have in quick succession, the proverbial ups and downs.  It’s not just the elderly or ill who have good days and bad days.

There have been mistakes and recovery.  We have some unlikely teachers in life.  Mistakes are one of those teachers.  In fact, it is painfully known that mistakes and failures are some of life’s most important lessons.  But are we ready learners?  Do we take counsel from our mistakes?

“Have you learned your lesson?”  It’s called lifelong learning because we’re learning every day, with “equal parts” of what not to do mixed with what to do.  How many people do you know who teach you blatantly what not to do?

Speaking of equal parts, here are some of those parts of life like hinges, pins, springs, screws and such that have balanced themselves on the scales of 2022:

Struggles and strains, losses and gains.

Satisfaction and wanting.

Pajama days and straitjacket days.

It’s been settled and unsettling.

It’s been disappointing and hopeful.  I might be an optimist, or maybe I’m a pessimist.

It’s been a time of acceptance and rebellion.

I’ve had moments of activity and moments of rest; peace and frenzy.

It’s been busy yet “Father Time” has miraculously made his provision.

There has been feasting and fasting.

Some people have been friendly and others aloof.

Does it all even out in the end?  Maybe your scales are balanced in the final tally; I hope so. 

I hope you will recall 2022 like most people relate their childhood to their older parents.  You’ve surely been to a gathering of friends and family where some 30-something or 40-something “kid” tells a funny story of a near-tragedy or “secret escapade” that has been revealed to the folks for the first time (or maybe mom and dad just never let on that they knew….).

Here’s to forgetting the extremes and remembering the shades and shadows.  Cheers to 2023 and let’s hope for the best.


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