All of this has happened before

‘Tis the season of lists. Christmas wish lists, shopping lists, to-do lists. Best of and worst of everything lists. Lists of changes we’re really – truly – going to make next year. There’s something comforting about looking back on the necessary chaos of life and saying “I’ll just put this bit in order now, and then I’ll move on to the next thing.”  It might just be a reaction to the calendar, but I think these dark, cold days bring out our natural need to brood and mull.

So I’ve been mulling. And obsessing. And listing – all of the bad things, the unfair things, the ways I haven’t lived up to my own expectations and the times I thought it couldn’t get any worse. I built up the idea of this year to the point where it felt like something I needed to outrun. If I can just get out of this year, I can make it. If I can just survive a few more days without incident, all will be fine.  But that’s not how time works.

I wrote those two paragraphs in December of 2013. I found them with a few days left of 2016. I hope you are reading them from the safe distance of 2017, and that everything really is better.

Or at least not worse.