January 2020 was a rough entry into this new decade. To start, there were the big, horrific newsworthy events like the Australian bushfires, fear about the possible start of WW III and the subsequent tragedy of Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752, which felt incredibly close to home with so many of those onboard having been Edmontonians who worked or studied at the UofA, that pushing the actions of Donald Trump aside because “they don’t affect my life in Alberta” is no longer an option. Then there was the completely unexpected Kobe Bryant-and-crew helicopter tragedy, and the not so unexpected declaration of the novel Coronavirus as a Global Health Emergency by the World Health Organization.
With all of that playing in the background, I spent the first week at my new job with a terrible sore throat and probable sinus infection, which does not provide favourable conditions for making a good first impression when you’re supposed to be lecturing, but sound like a ninety year old chain smoker. In what was a valiant, but short-lived victory, I rallied and had two good weeks with just a few sniffles (during which time I passed the germs on to family members) only to have symptoms return last week with a heavy chest, fevers, chills, and episodes of shaking that were so bad I was forced to cancel a class on Friday and actually spend an entire day in bed resting. Add in multiple vehicle repairs that still haven’t fixed the weird howling sound coming from the front end of my SUV, that absolutely frigid spell of weather we had in early January, a broken dishwasher, a frantic call from my condo renter who showed up after a weekend away to find the furnace was out and the water in the toilet was frozen completely solid, family members in the hospital, and it’s no wonder that by January 75th, the month had left an acrid taste in my mouth.
I also missed a ton of hockey, hardly got any exercise, didn’t finish a single book that wasn’t on audio, and felt extremely guilty for sending Henry to dayhome full time, but often not feeling up to doing anything fun or meaningful with him at night.
So here’s the part of this post where I’m tempted to continue my January sob story, to moan and complain and point out the month’s many flaws in even greater detail, but I’ll do something more productive instead; I’ll offer the simple lesson I learned in the opening weeks of 2020. Some weeks and months are hard and are simply about survival, and that’s okay.
I’m getting so much better at giving myself some grace and being satisfied with accomplishing what’s within my control, and relinquishing my pointless pursuit of worrying about the rest – it can wait – because it’ll all still be there after the fevers and the chills and the chaos have subsided.