A new year.
I say that as if it is a once in a year chance to start over but there quite a few times a year that I take time to draw a line in the sand and mark a new start: my birthday, a new school year, the start of the Church calendar, which is Advent. As T.S. Eliot says,
“What we call the beginning is often the end.T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
It is the start of a new year but also the end of another.
Reading a journal entry from the end of 2021, (Dec. 29) it all still holds true.
It’s as if I have made no progress and learned nothing in this most recent trip around the sun.
I’m still drawn to the mystery of God.
Still feeling like we are all trying to civilize and domesticate a God who is not of this world.
Still giving meaning to experience when shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Still restricted by chronology.
Still trying to slow time.
“Where did our permission to go slow go?” I wrote.
There was no slowing.
If 2020 was a year of WAITING
And 2021, a year of JOURNEYING
2022 was a year of COMPROMISE
The word compromise has good and bad connotations. In our pre-marital counselling, a point of contention was the idea of compromise. I believed and still do, that there is no need to compromise if something is right. Our marriage counsellors did not appreciate my decisiveness.
Many see compromise as a peacemaking strategy – I never have been much of a peacemaker. I’ll do this, if you do this and we’ll meet in the middle. It’s the settling of a dispute by concession. It’s a good thing…?
But compromise can also be a bad thing. If security is compromised, there is more risk of danger. If the foundation of a building is compromised, it is no longer safe.
In 2022, we made life work by compromise. We gave in, or some might say, we accepted our limitations, although I don’t know if the latter is entirely accurate.
Another word that I considered for 2022 was SETTLED. We settled, in that our roots went a little deeper. We became more “settled” in our jobs – not in the comfortable kind of way, but rather, they were no longer new. We became more “settled” at Kinbrace recognizing that no two seasons or cohorts of residents are ever the same and life ebbs and flows accordingly. And we “settled” into life in Canada – I can go to Costco and buy a 2L bottle of Ketchup without feeling completely overwhelmed. Yay, me.
But the word settled also implies that we settled for something less than what we hoped for. We compromised and accepted standards that were lower than desirable.
The standard of always being busy.
The standard of not prioritizing time to regenerate or create.
The standard of being okay with acquaintances and surface-level relationships
The standard of never quite being happy, or at peace, or content.
There is a part of me that wants to think that this was due to a lost battle with my calendar and if I just did a better job at scheduling myself, I would be more content or if I had more self-discipline and spent less time scrolling Instagram or watching Ted Lasso and took more intentional times of solitude, I would feel more fulfilled but if I am honest, I don’t think the answer lies in my incompetency.
The reality remains, however: we all have the same amount of time in a day – it’s how we use it that shapes our individual stories.
I want to believe that if we are committed to our priorities and manage our time and resources accordingly, it will all fall into place, but it’s much more complicated than that isn’t it?
I don’t expect to crack the code on the first morning of a new year, but let’s just say, today is yet another chance to pick myself up, brush off the dirt and debris of 2022 and try again.