May We All Have A Vision Now and Then

Somewhere around September or October, I realized that 2019 has been a year I was writing off as transitory in a lot of ways. It was the year the divorce became final, and I rebuilt my life in a better way, with me actually able to control things that felt out of control before — of course, there’s still a lot I can’t, and never will be able to, control, but that’s just fine — and in a far happier place and healthy relationship. 2019 was the year, I told myself, where I’d figure things out, even if it’s just what not to do.

(Money; I need to be better about money, for one thing. There was a point mid-year where I suddenly thought, “Wait, am I going to wipe out my savings when I pay taxes next year?” and had this massive chill run through my body. Still, at least I have savings, which was better than the worry I had earlier in the year when I didn’t think I’d be able to make rent because a paycheck was delayed.)

But if that’s what 2019 was — and now, I still think that I was right in that characterization of the year, perhaps feeling even more convinced — then what is 2020 going to be? What happens after the transition?

I have no idea.

And the more I think about that, the more I’m okay with it. There was a point where not knowing was terrifying, where I knew that I’d be expected to have an answer and a plan and that the plan would need to pass muster, and… that was unnatural to me, really. For better or worse — and really, it’s probably worse — I’m not one with longterm plans, one who has everything mapped out in advance. It always felt like a struggle to have those answers when they were asked of me, and it took me too long to realize that that, really, was a sign of something being wrong on an important level.

So, 2020 is going to be what it’s going to be, and I’ll probably only realize what kind of a year it is midway through it again. That’s kind of exciting to me, to be honest. When I was doing my Masters, I remember talking to someone in the school’s PhD program as they explained the idea behind their work method. Basically, she said, she followed what seemed interesting and exciting and right in some indefinable manner, and trusted that she’d realize what the connections between all those things were after the fact. It was called “emergent research,” she said.

If my life is emergent research now, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing at all.

And The Morning Seems So Grey

Something that no-one seemed to consider about this whole “living through history” thing is how utterly exhausting it is. We have, for the past two years or so, been in a political moment as dramatic and important as any since Watergate (at least; I’m sure there are those who feel what’s happening right now is more, somehow), and as thrilling as that may be — admittedly, alternate terms may include “horrifying” and “anxiety-inducing”; your choice as you may feel applicable — it also feels as if it’s an endurance challenge intended to destroy us.

The lives and livelihoods of friends and strangers have been constantly under threat during all this time, the moral thread of this country feels at times almost permanently lost, and reality often seems to be folding in upon itself as things which feel like paranoid conspiracy cliches turn out again and again to be true. (As I write, there are yet more stories suggesting with worrying legitimacy that the President’s loyalties lie with Russia, not the US, something that feels as if it really shouldn’t be true, as if that were too unoriginal and hacky.)

The upshot of this is a fraying of the nerves, and a growing weariness towards… Well, everything. There was a lot of don’t normalize this at the start of the Trump presidency from well-intentioned scolds, but how could we not? The alternative was to constantly live in this heightened sense of alarm and disoriented shock, which is an easy way to lose perspective on everything. And yet… isn’t that what kind of happened, anyway? I know that my good humor feels strained past breaking point, at times, now, and 2018 as a whole was a year that broke me — and legitimately broke parts of my life-as-was for good.

I was talking about this to a friend, recently. (Hi, Jeff.) He said that things feel different now, somehow, better in some inexplicable way that felt dangerous to try and identify for fear of simply tempting fate. I feel that, too, and the mixture of excitement, optimism and, to be honest, this beaten-down fear that, no, things don’t get better anymore, they just get weirder and worse is difficult to describe, beyond simply saying that it’s tiring. There was a time, once, when I didn’t feel so tired all the time, and I want to get back there soon.

Or perhaps that’s just age, for all I know.