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Friday Open Thread (with a New Year)

Sun setting on Ottawa and 2020

Dear Friends,

I’ve missed several of these Fridays as the holidays bore down, and we’re now in a new year, and I always want to treat new things tenderly. This past week has been a series of whiplashing emotions, personal and public, and I’ve found it difficult to think of how to contribute: how to be available to my furious and grieving friends and family members while trying to keep on top of the work which, incredibly, is still expected to continue, to a schedule set in a time that didn’t have pandemics or violent insurrections to account for. (I found this Reductress image cathartic.)

For the last two years I’ve had a “Hopes, Dreams, Intentions” page at the opening of my journal; I usually find revisiting them to be a mixture of painful and moving. There are always goals unmet, plans derailed, but I find a curious comfort in seeing how consistent my longings are — a winding shoreline of the self, marked by ebb and flow, all the advances and retreats of a tidal life.

This year, I left the page blank. I wanted to build the structure of the year ahead, its grids and lists, before allowing myself to think of what I hope, what I dream, what I intend, because I spent the first several days of this month unable to proceed otherwise. I’d been stymied by small things — a new provincial lockdown, a favourite pen breaking, a pain in my left hand — and then, swiftly, stymied by enormous things. But I’ve done that, now; I know the rough shape of this month, of what’s expected of me and when, and the next month, and the one after that, and it’s enough to be getting on with, enough to let myself return to the bigger questions.

So I want to ask you: what do you hope, for this year? What do you dream? And what do you intend?

Wishing you all love, health, safety, nourishment, and, yes, happiness, in this New Year,