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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Je Ne Sais Quoi...

That is what 2020 has been for me...a year filled with qualities that I cannot describe or name easily.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” Charles Dickens

Now Dickens was writing about the Reign of Terror leading up to the French Revolution but I think his quote aptly fits with the year 2020 even though he wrote it in 1859.

It likewise seems to me that the above quote gives me comfort in the lack of a clear ability to describe how I feel about the year just passed...

There are many things that were gained this year, and just as many as were lost. It is funny, I didn’t realize how much “loss” I had this last year until my daughter recited them for me last night. And, compared to many, I had only a few, compared to others, I have had more than a fair share.

However, what I appreciated most from her was the acknowledgement that there had been losses. That my thirteen year old daughter noticed my independent life from hers was what struck me. That she saw me weather all of this and noticed the subtle and not so subtle losses.

So I feel lacking in words to describe the year just passed. On some levels, it was just another year, full of ups and downs, boredom, apathy, growth, change. I guess what stands out as exceptional is that we are all collectively dealing with a new reality that pretty much no one likes (I have checked with the introverts - they have also had enough). I am hopeful that this new road ahead with this commonality we all share now will help us see how much we are all doing life the same: we all need health, otherwise life is not worth very much. We all need shelter, food, warmth, contact, purpose. We all need to be touched and held and made to feel important to someone other than ourselves.

I am hopeful that as this crazy, exceptional year draws to a close that I can allow 2021 to enter in clean, free from projections brought about by my heartache, loss and disappointment from 2020. Seems unfair to sully 2021 with all that I feel slighted from 2020.

2021 will bring what it will bring. Some of it I will like and welcome, some of it I won’t. What I hope to bring as 2020 turns to 2021 tonight, is a grace that all I really have is right now. This moment where my words appear on the screen. My coffee steaming on my bedside, cat purring on my lap, my daughter gently snoring next to me. Light begins to enter my room and fills me up with hope for the day. My solemn and daily prayer, “please, please, please help me get out of me while staying true to myself, in a non-assholey kind of way."

Perhaps 2021 can and will be ruined before it ever gets going if I project all kinds of needs, demands and desires onto it. Perhaps, tonight as the clock strikes midnight, I just stand silently and welcome the arrival of a new moment and do my best to clear that moment of a need to control, a need to know, demands and me. Perhaps 2021 could be a better year if only I really learn the lessons of 2020.

I cannot describe the quality and nature of 2020 any more than I can describe the moment I am in right now. Each being filled with grace, deceit, hardship, pain, love, light, joy, sorrow, loss and gain. For me, as 2020 leaves us and 2021 seeps in, I am filled with an awe and wonder about all the moments each contains and set my intention to make the most and best of every moment...regardless of what my head tells me. Because what I think and believe is really an inside job. Always has been and always will be. And a year defined by comparison to a year just passed is doomed for failure regardless of how it goes.

So this last day of 2020 I am going to try to embrace the totality of the moments contained in this day. And allow the Je Ne Said Quoi element to be pervasive, perhaps if I try not to explain it or quantify it, or name it, I can just rest in the quiet stillness of my life and know that not all great things can be named or quantified, sometimes life is best left just as it is, without adding anything more.

Just a smile to tell you I need you to stay and look at me.

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