I chose a “one little word” to guide me through the year 2020 in complete innocence of the changes that 2020 would actually bring. It was such a tumultuous year that I didn’t ever return to my essay, reflect on my word, or use it to firm up my resolve as the year progressed.
I return to it now. My word was “possible.” I wrote then about feeling my age and limitations. I wanted to rise above my aches and concerns to find the possible. To make the possible happen. To avoid entering a rut of thinking of things as impossible.
Turns out it was a pretty good word for the year. And I didn’t need to re-read my writing on it to remember to use it during the year; the year simply required it of me. If my mantra became “possible,” it was not out of determination but out of necessity.
When my husband asked what are you writing about, and I said my one little word for 2020, he asked, does it begin with an F?
As 2020 closes out, I will take the chance to celebrate the spirit of possible that I found. And upon reflection, to discover the addendum to my “one little word.” Look for it.
- It was possible to fly to another country during a pandemic to be with my daughter after her accident.
- It was possible to make hard decisions while lacking information, and not revisit them in guilt.
- It was possible to nurse my daughter at home.
- It was possible to learn nursing techniques from google.
- It was possible for my daughter to trust me when she had plenty of reason to doubt.
- It was possible to adjust to mask wearing and social distancing.
- It was possible to feel close to people still.
- It was possible to learn to teach virtually.
- It was possible to get better at it.
- It was possible to “restart” when things failed, or- when possible- take a break and come back to try again and again.
- It was possible to learn more from friends, colleagues, and my students.
- It was possible to find ways to connect with grandchildren far away.
- It was possible to find joy in many small things.
- It was possible to keep connected.
- It was possible to find humor.
- It is possible to discover a common thread throughout all these points, one that transcends the original word:
- It was not possible to be independent, as I usually strive to be. Not possible to do it on my own, as I intended, when I set “possible” as my word for this year. All of these celebrations are possible because we learned from each other, shared, were patient, and accepted attempts with love.
I have never depended more on others for help and advice, never reached out for help so often. I have never been so grateful that my attempts at things I had never attempted before were accepted with patience and with love.
- It is possible to learn, midway through my sixth decade, that independence is overrated, and we do our best with help from others.