Lost Year

Cate and I were sitting around yapping as we do when she said, “I remember when I was out for dinner with Ty a couple of years ago. . .” Then she stopped, mid sentence and said:

“Everything interesting is a couple of years ago.”

We sat basically in silence for about 30 seconds, which is a long time really, mid conversation.

Everything was a couple of years ago.

I was out on my bike today, for the third time in less than three weeks (yay me) and I was thinking about this idea, that everything feels like it was a couple of years ago. When I concentrate, I can recognize the year that has passed. One year ago this past weekend, we were wrapping up our final intensive, shifted online instead of residential and delayed from March. It was all out of sync, it was too much work, it was horrible. I was struggling hard with the adjustment to being an online therapist. I was hoping that it wouldn’t last past summer. I couldn’t contemplate any further than August. One year ago, I was cancelling travel and watching my kids suffer with online university.

There is a phenomenon in development where people don’t remember their childhoods either because there was so much trauma they dissociate or because it was so boring and void of stimulation there was nothing to keep track of the years. I think this past year was a little of both. There are varying combinations depending on who you are and where you are but we have all had some measure of crushing boredom coupled with trauma, acute or chronic. And so, who wants to remember any of it?

I want to be able to mark that a year has past and that things happened and that they were important. I don’t want this year to be a loss. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to mark down what happened that I think was important, inspired by or somehow pushed by this fricking pandemic. I’m focusing on physical things but also maybe some emotional/spiritual things. Why not?

  1. I learned to lift weights. They weren’t heavy but I finally learned properly in a way that I could understand and relate to my body. I can even fling a few around appropriately if I feel like it.
  2. I really sunk into my yoga practice. It started by clinging to my friend Adriene but has moved outward to something very deliberate and mindful that is extending my realm of flex and reach. I didn’t realize there was so much to accomplish by being still in a pose. It’s the best.
  3. Twenty kilometres is enough of a bike ride. This year, in these three rides I have done, I’m recognizing that I do not have any reason to ride except that I’m having a fun time and getting some exercise. In years previous, I have been training for something big but honestly? Right now, IDGAF. I’m going to ride when I can and only as far as I want to go. It’s totally fine.
  4. I claimed my space. I am one of those people who spent time, energy and money in-between hard lock downs renovating my space. It finally looks like I want it to look and feels like I want it to feel. It’s the first time in my life something has been entirely mine. I’m into it.
  5. I still don’t like running. I don’t. So I won’t.
  6. I am an expert in what I do. This one has been a process that certainly started before the pandemic but something about the intensity of having to adapt and make things work for clients and students and my colleagues who work with me has pushed me to a place that is different than before. I used to be plagued with imposter syndrome, even after 15 years of full time practice. Yet this year, something shifted. My teaching has become more solid and my confidence in my supervision and other work has just solidified. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s IDGAF. I don’t know, but I like it!!
  7. I made adults. Two years ago, both my children were still children. Now, suddenly, we are three adults, living in the house over the summer, negotiating stuff and generally having a good time. They have adapted and survived so well and are coming out of this mess with energy and hope, even as they have the usual gen Z anxiety about their actual future. This time has made me pay more attention to them, be more deliberate about my engagement. I think we are all better for that.
  8. IDGAF. . .about working to end white supremacy and patriarchy in loud ways. I’m working to get louder. I guess saying this here is part of that. My students and the work my school is doing to transform it’s curriculum, structure and student body is part of that too. I learn every day from beautiful people, especially my students.
  9. I’m no longer cool. I have accepted this. My coolness, such as it is, is an “old person” kind. Not only is this okay, it’s a relief. I can let go of the longing and the shame that I have no idea who you are talking about when you mention some actor in a thing that was in another thing. Popular culture is no longer mine. Take it, I don’t want it any more.

There may be more but that’s a good summary. Actually, quite of bit of living has happened in the last year and, as we start to accelerate into a future that is the “after-times”, I am planning to take all these lessons into my expanding world. It’s going to take some effort, some mindful remembering, but I don’t want this year to pretend to disappear. It happened, it was real and it needs to be integrated and remembered as more than just some unpleasantness. It was more than just some unpleasantness.

What is important about your “lost year”? How do you want to make sure you keep it?

“The Lost Year” by Hichter CC by 2.0

10 thoughts on “Lost Year

  1. Great post, as usual, Susan.

    I feel I’ve made some good strides at work and I finished a few courses. I have enjoyed my routine, including my exercise routine.

    With respect to time, a couple weeks ago, my husband and I were walking with a close friend and we were taking about how our 2nd wedding anniversary is coming up and I said “it feels like 5”. We all laughed and he said “how romantic”. I quickly explained, I don’t mean bc of of our marriage, but our wedding seems like from a different era. So much has changed, so it feels more than 2 years ago. We are all in a new era. Hope it’s a good one 🙂

  2. Love this way of reframing the year. I definitely don’t want to erase this year. I’ve learned a lot of new work skills. Sarah and I have enjoyed a more home focused life with less commuting. I’ve gotten to know neighbours. I’ve enjoyed walking and biking close to home. Done a lot more trail and gravel riding. And I’ve even made new friends on the internet, in biking and book communities. Oh and I’ve connected with family in England and Australia as we compare how our pandemics are going.

    1. Oh, and on a personal note, lots of excellent conversations with children which might not have happened if they had more exciting options than their mother!

  3. This is an excellent invitation to reflect. This will be my blog post for next week, my reflections on this question 🙂

  4. Great insights! Plus I learned a new and useful acronym. Also, to me, being cool is not about being hip to pop culture or the latest meme, its about being comfortable in our skin (not in a stodgy, why should I ever change way, but in a courageous enough to be my own person and stay curious to how I might evolve way)–therefore–you are cool!

      1. I should add that’s not the original meaning of the word “broad”, of course, but I think of it as a woman using it herself, or for other women they admire, who are forces to be reckoned with.

  5. Such a great article Susan! As I reflect on this year and what has been lost there’s been so many gains! For once I felt like I could slow down and breathe and just be. There was no making lunches, morning school drop offs, rushed fast food drive-thru dinners and trying to get my 3 kids to their hockey practices and games. For once we could just be as a family, in our own space, on our own time and we have really come to appreciate our down time together; listening to music, walking, painting, movie watching, cooking. Just getting to know each other without the anxiety schedules caused in the past has been such a gain.

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