Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.Frederick Buechner
The bad news? The year ahead will be full of sadness, grief, disappointment, and struggle. Exactly like the year we’re wrapping up today. And the year before that. And all the years before that.
To be fair, the current state of the world is arguably worse than at any time in recorded history. Though, also to be fair:
Let others praise ancient times; I’m glad I was born in these.Ovid
The good news? The year ahead will also be full of joy, wonder, awe, and accomplishment.
So, here we are, born in these times, in this beautiful, terrible world, trying to decide what to do with ourselves, as we (perhaps some of us more or less than others) worry worry worry about COVID and climate change and democracy and, at least in the U.S., all the fucking guns.
Maybe in response to this strange reality you are, like I am, trying to strike a healthy balance between staring and looking away. May we find that balance, all of us, in the interest of our continued health and sanity.
Continued health and sanity was, and still is, the general thought behind this little 31-day series of prompts in the December Sanity Journal. Whether you’ve followed along faithfully or only lurked occasionally from the sidelines, I hope whatever you’ve found here has been in some way helpful or enjoyable for you.
You’re all you’ve got, you know. Your relationships, your creations, even your children are all outside of you and outside of your control once they’re out there in the beautiful, terrible world. What you bring to those relationships, that creativity, those children is a matter of your own choosing.
Which is why taking time for yourself, to strengthen yourself, is essential. Taking time to reflect on your relationships and the people you spend time with is about you, not them. Taking time to identify the most important thing, right now, is not about accomplishment but about managing yourself.
And so, on this last day of calendar 2021, what will you do just for yourself?
Maybe it’s as simple as a small, intentional, act of self-indulgence (remembering that self indulgence isn’t actually self-care). Maybe it’s as hard as telling yourself the truth about something you’ve been avoiding.
You’re the only one who can make this choice and do this work. Just you.
I hope you’ll take the time to do it, because you are the most important person in your life.
Hey, good luck. And happy new year. Why not?
P.S. – Curious about what’s ahead, now that this daily (ish) series is over? Glad you asked. First comes a return to cooking, because I’ve got some recipes to share. After that, you can look forward to (or plan to avoid) some more daily-prompt work that’s similar to, but different from, this December work. Actually, it’s possible that these two things, cooking and daily prompts, could come together. The only way you’ll know for sure is by sticking around to see what happens next. I’m always curious about that myself.
P.P.S. – Over at Larksome Goods I’ve been working on a site overhaul (not live yet), and I’m about to launch a big catalog of digital downloads, including many of the images you’ve seen in recent posts. There will be a variety of printables, some free and others for purchase, all available for personal use. Want to help me test that before the whole thing goes public? Awesome. Click here for the product page to “purchase” one of the test files. During checkout enter promo code JENNYSLARK2021 for 100% discount on this file only (limit one per person). If you give it a try, drop a note in the comments to let me (and others) know how it goes, will you? Yes; there’s a reason I buried this bit at the very end of the post. Only you few, you happy few who read all the way to the end will know this was even an option.