The days where you experience wonder in the details. The meat of life that hides behind the mask of minutiae. The way he looks at me, the way he makes me feel, the smell of him, the taste of his food. Sliding into a hot bath after a long day of hard physical labor. The sky, the planets, the moon, the stars, our star. Neighbors who bring meals and hug you when you cry with gratitude. Patient friends and resilient family. Windy days, still days, long days, short days. Watching trees we planted grow taller than us in the space of months.
I’ve had more of these days in 2022 than I’ve had in any year I can remember.
On New Year’s Day, I was stung by a bee.
It was 35°C. I was up to my waist in cool water, sitting in the inflatable pool we’d bought on a whim in California five years ago and barely used since.
I was having a magical day – I had nothing to do, nowhere to be, and was sitting in dappled shade with no concern for time. I’d had a Campari and soda, and was listening to music, chatting with Jesse, and watching birds dip in and out of the birdbath nearby.
Something tickled my ribs. Without looking, I brushed my right hand across the sensation and felt a sharp pain near the tip of my middle finger. I looked down at my hand and saw the bee fly clumsily into the water, and its stinger poking out next to my nail.
Without thinking, I pulled it out. Even though I knew the bee would die, I got it out of the water.
My finger swelled and stung. I had tools (lidocaine, painkillers) that made the sting go away entirely. All in all, it was unpleasant for a while, but it could have been far, far worse.
And that feels like my metaphor for 2022. It was a magical year despite getting hurt a few times – sometimes physically, other times mentally. Sometimes due to my choices, other times due to circumstance. Every sting could have been worse, and I had access to tools that helped me handle the pain of each one to the best of my ability.
I’m starting 2023 still fatigued from a COVID infection in late November. I’m nervous the situation could be long-term, but I’m doing my best to take care of myself. We’ve already got a lot of things to look forward to this year, so I’m trying to lay low and heal before they kick off.
If you’re reading this, congratulations on surviving 2022 with me. Here’s to a safe and peaceful 2023.