Ready or Not
A few weeks ago, one of those quizzes that pop up on Facebook came across my feed.
It was a word search with directions advising that the first three words you saw would define your 2021. If you looked closely, you could find words like “hope,” “friends,” “job” and “marriage.” More humorous prospects like “wine,” “sex” and “pot” were there too. My friend David’s comment resonated with me most. The first words he saw were “QAATH,” “VBTEQC” and “FEHLLP.”
Amen, brother! When I think about the beginning of last year and all I expected it to bring, I can only chuckle at my childlike innocence. This year, at least we’ll know better than to plan.
For several years I’ve used the calendar on my phone to keep track of where I’m supposed to be and when, and for the most part, it works pretty well. I can’t, however, seem to get the big picture from it, so I always buy a paper monthly planner and sketch out my plans a few months ahead.
I took out my 2020 monthly planner this morning. It looks pretty normal until you get to March. A wedding scheduled for late that month is crossed through; beside it in my husband’s handwriting is the word “postponed.” You can almost hear the sound of brakes squealing.
April and May have only a few entries, most of which refer to scheduled trips that didn’t happen. Starting in June, the planner’s pages are pristine. By then I had tucked it away in a drawer, the big picture no longer relevant.
My routine dictates I should soon visit the office supply store and buy a 2021 planner. I should thoughtfully and carefully lay out my year so I can be prepared for what’s coming. But all I can see are the words “QAATH,” “VBTEQC” and “FEHLLP.”
I’m not whining. I’m merely saying that if 2020 taught me anything at all, it was this lesson: You have to roll with the punches. In the words of the woman who ordered so much stuff online she couldn’t keep track, “If FedEx delivers a llama on Tuesday, it is what it is.” #pandemicmotto
Life often throws us curveballs and many years are wild rides. What made 2020 unique is that we were all thrown screwballs simultaneously while we rode on a bus that had been hijacked by a demented monkey. I’ve had bad years before; we all have. However, most of my bad years were mine alone. While I was dealing with cancer or a divorce, other people were living their best lives. We’re not used to widespread hardship.
My parents’ generation experienced more than a few shared trials in their lifetime. Thankfully, my peers and I have had more luck. We missed World War II and the Great Depression completely, and most of us skated right between Vietnam and the Gulf War. The biggest all-encompassing challenge I can recall was the fuel crisis in the seventies. I remember, as a student at SMU, a road trip to Joe T. Garcia’s being scrapped because we couldn’t find an open gas station. We were, to put it in seventies terms, “pretty bummed.” Even at the time, I realized what a bunch of lightweights we were. Our parents had experienced a world war and a depression, and we were upset because we couldn’t go to Fort Worth and eat Mexican food. It was what these days I call a “champagne problem.”
We don’t know what this crisp new year will bring. We can buy planners all day long and it won’t change that fact. We know better than to count on anything at this point, but we still need to take the wheel and cruise—or maybe careen—into 2021 with positive energy and the confidence that we can handle whatever it throws our way.
Like most people, I regularly participate in many activities that take place annually. Time goes by so quickly these days. I’m constantly surprised when it’s already time for a particular event to occur yet again. This convention or that fundraiser or another family reunion seems like it just happened, and here it is, back again. The year we just finished acted as a bit of a reset in that respect. I expect to be a touch more excited this year if those annual activities are allowed to take place. Fingers crossed!
We all have lots to do. With any luck, the break will soon be over. It’s time to put away the jigsaw puzzles and get ready. I’m buying a planner and making plans for the year.
Here’s a plan: I’ll write in my planner with a pencil.