Here we are, starting a new month. The eighth month of this year actually. It’s hard to believe.
I was looking over my journal from the beginning of the year and those thoughts and aspirations feel so differently now.
As I read them, I had to pause to remember what I was thinking about at that time.
It felt like it was a lifetime ago, yet it was just mere months. Each month this year has been counted in dog years, however.
I was grateful, hopeful, and optimistic for 2020, thinking it was symbolic in some way of having a perfect vision for how I wanted my year to be.
And, in so many ways, I have been really, deeply wrong.
But this year has been full of a lot of lessons. Big lessons, about the things that really, truly matter.
There’s something about being quarantined in my tiny little cabin that made realize some harsh truths about a few things.
Maybe that’s why some people have struggled with this pandemic so much.
Having so much time to really reflect on some things can be overwhelming and can make us have to face things we’ve avoided with all the distractions and busy-ness around us.
When things are going so catty wompus as Granny used to say, we can do two things —we can fight like the dickens to try to get our way, or we can surrender.
Surrender, in no means, is giving up.
Quite the contrary.
When we surrender we aren’t defeated.
Rather, we are leaning into what is happening around us and saying we won’t fight it.
Doesn’t mean we will like it.
Doesn’t mean we will be happy.
It just means we are going to ride that cattywompus wave to see where it takes us and then figure out how to regroup.
Granny often called this washing her hands of something.
I never understood that as a child.
She was furious about something her sister Bonnie did once — I was small, so I don’t recall nor was I privy to some of the drama that had occurred — but Granny vehemently declared she was washing her hands of the whole situation. She threw some colorful metaphors in there for good measure, too. Including a select word she often used to refer to her sister.
She was sitting down at the time she made this declaration and was nowhere near a sink.
A few minutes went by, so I asked her when she was going to wash her hands.
“That’s a figure of speech,” she told me.
I didn’t get it.
“It means I am done with the whole dadblamed situation,” she stated.
This took a second for me to process. Granny wasn’t a quitter and would refuse to do things sometimes out of sheer spite.
It’s partly how she lived to be as old as she did and why we all thought for sure she’d outlive us all.
But she was giving up?
“I’m not doing no such a thing,” she huffed. “Washing my hands of something is in no way, shape, or form giving up. I am just cussed tired of putting my energy into this when it’s not going to do me any good.”
When you’re a child, you are given tiny little nuggets like this your whole life that at the time make absolutely no sense until years later in the middle of a mid-life crisis wrapped in a pandemic swathed in an existential panic shrouded with everything else the universe could heap on top, it suddenly makes brilliant sense.
Granny’s hand washing had nothing to do with Dial, although that’s what made me reflect as soaped up for 20 seconds.
No, she was referring to the surrender that comes from saying, “this is probably going to be a colossal nightmare and I don’t want any part of it.”
Or maybe, it was from a more elevated thought of “I don’t want to expend my energy on things I have no control over, so I am releasing that from my life to focus on the things I can control.”
Granny’s was more aligned with the first, but I am choosing to focus on the second.
As I have reflected on how this year has gone, I realized there was a surrender that needed to happen.
A lot of things in my life needed to shift and change. I needed some perspective. Maybe that’s been the same for others as well.
I don’t know when things will get back to normal, if normal is what we need to return to, or what normal really looks like.
Some cleaned out their closets in a corona-declutter; I decluttered emotionally and surrendered some lingering one-sided relationships that needed to go.
I’ve learned that no matter how many pretty planners I buy to write out my intention word in for the year and my lists of things I hope to accomplish, one thing can come along and change all of that in an instant.
Sitting in this moment, right now, this year has definitely not been the year I had hoped for, nor the year I had planned.
I am not alone in that either.
So, as I enter the last four months of this year, I am doing a gentle hand washing of it.
Instead of fighting it, I am surrendering my energy from wondering what dumpster fire is around the corner that I will have no control over and focusing on those things I can control instead.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.