Jaded

Looking back at 2021, the passing of weeks and months is that of being inside a thick fog. Every now and then, the pathway appeared long enough to move up the road, sometimes leading somewhere and at other times, driving me further into the fog. It was a year of disappointments, cancelations, rough decisions and scorned hope. In between there were rays of sunshine and hope blossomed for a little while, but never long enough to get out of the fog entirely.

2021 was an extremely hard year for me, a year in which the accumulated pile of the past’s unsolved issues exploded in my face. With the pandemic and the consequential isolation and deprivation it has forced us to practice, I found myself standing in-front of a mirror face to face with old and new issues. There was nowhere to hide and it finally caught up with me. The infiltration and its effect on me and my people led to a complete introspection to resolve the merging of issues.

As I leave 2021 in the rearview mirror, I am grateful for the lessons I was forced to learn. I’ve discovered much about myself, my abilities, my strengths and I am beginning a journey of acknowledging my limits and accept them. I have realized what kind of person I want to be and how I want to conduct myself in life. I have grown as a mother and realized what kind of a mother I want to be, and what I want to teach my daughter as she embarks on the journey we call life. In this year alone, she has grown into a marvelous, intelligent little girl who truly, without fear or reservation, follows her heart’s desire.

In 2021, like so many of us, my priorities made their way to the surface and they are hard to ignore. 2021 was about family, about being part of one and treasuring the precious moments we have together. I have spent many a day and evening with my sister and her family, observing my daughter and niece form a bond in spite of their differences, and found a source of comfort in having a sister to confide in and be so much a part of each other’s lives.

I have had my dad with me several times a week to take my darling dog Emma for long walks. In January of 2021, a month I can declare without a doubt to be the shittiest month of them all, bad news poured down from the skies above. My darling dog Emma was diagnosed with advanced arthritis and thought unlikely to return to her previous strength or resemblance of which. That same month, my father was diagnosed with an incurable and heartbreaking condition. But as the end of the year approached, after working hard on keeping my Emma eating as healthy as possible and doing physiotherapy with a very capable veterinarian, she is strong and agile again and is expected to have more years in her, much to our joy. My dad continues to come and walk with her and it keeps him well and happy, and my daughter has the good fortune of getting to know him and create memories. In all this, I capture these memories for the lifetime ahead.

The sad facts of life that were presented to me in 2021 are not going to disappear as we blast the year into oblivion. The incurable condition of the man I have always looked up to will not be erased because 2022 came to replace 2021. The condition will augment itself and the heartbreak of losing someone into a void is one for which I am continuously preparing myself. Most importantly, I am actively gathering as much time with him as I can while assisting my mother with the hardship of gradually going from a wife to caretaker. In this battle, my family is going to have to learn how best to share the responsibility and be there for one another. This is going to be one of the challenges of the year and years to come. In all this, I wow to make him feel loved, safe, and above all, heard and seen.

What I wish for and what I need is the return to a life where going to yoga class is not a source of concern because of the 1500+ new cases of Covid-19. A life where we can travel freely and safely and be with the people we love no matter how far away they are from us. The simple things that we used to take for granted, one of the biggest being the act of hugging. Even standing together in a crowd. I miss catching a perfume or a scent in the air that makes me close my eyes to hold onto it a little longer. Anything that does not involve avoiding everyone outside of our bubble.

We do have a distance to go and to get there, we need to be vigilant and remember to protect ourselves and others. What we can do though, with our two years of pandemic living, is to start integrating pandemic-style the little things we treasure from our pre-pandemic years. We fly with masks until it is deemed safe to be without one. We keep our travels simpler. We exercise with care, attending classes when numbers are lower and finding time to exercise at home when they rise. We use our words to express our fondness for the people in our lives and our appreciation for people we meet. We approach life more honestly than before and if we are brave enough, empty the dirty pores that filtered and hindered us in the past.

2021 is not a year I want to repeat under any circumstances. It was the initial shock, the slap that was so hard I fell to the ground. It was the year that was relentless in its deliverance of bad news and the response they brought. In 2021, I was on the ground. In 2022, I am standing up, maybe not straight yet, but getting there. I will inhale the scent from the flowers on my path, I will reach out for help when I need it, and I will love like I’ve never done before. I will not be defeated. I will listen to my heart and live my passion. I will become that someone who likes me, no, loves me, just the way I am.

For me life has changed forever and there is no going back.

Because in all the madness that COVID-19 brought to the surface, we became global citizens, drifting together in uncertainty and working together to conquer the invisible enemy. We found a common cause and if we approach every problem on our path with the same determination and open mind, we are going to be make this world better for now and forever.

My wish is for us all to journey into 2022 with a pure heart and a determination to live according to what matters the most to us. Not just make time for our passion but to live it.

The post-pandemic resurrection of life is an opportunity to change our value system, to prioritize our lives according to our own dreams rather than duty, and to build on values of greater good rather than the good of individual nations. We have been given a chance of a lifetime to re-define normality.

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Late night contemplations

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Júlíana Björnsdóttir

Júlíana Björnsdóttir

Late night contemplations

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