2021 Grateful 1: So long and thanks for all the …

Goodbye, 2021. I’m ever so glad to see the back of you. It’s been a tumultuous one. Lots of ups and downs with long troughs of nothingness in between. But here we are, at the end of it, relatively unscathed. Inconvenienced, certainly. But relatively unscathed.

Sitting around the table this lunchtime, I commented that I’d be glad to see the back of 2021. I was reminded that I’d probably said the same thing last year about 2020.
Forget the winter sales. Those days are long gone. Last year, I was stocking up on KN95 masks; this year I’m bulk-buying antigen tests.
I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who were isolating over Christmas and now over New Years. I’m in double-digits when it comes to counting those I know or know of who’ve died as a result of Covid. And before you jump in, not all were old or had underlying conditions. Some of my favourite cafés and restaurants have closed for good. Niche shops I enjoyed in the past have shuttered their windows and ceased trading. It’s been 12 months of change, major change for many as they adjust to life without a job, without a business, without a friend or partner or spouse or sibling or neighbour.
This is the final post in my Grateful 2021 series. I started in January 2012. Mad, isn’t it? I’m not sure where those ten years have gone. No matter. I’m sold on this gratitude thing; it’s a habit that keeps on giving.
I return, yet again, to John O’Donoghue, and the way he has of making sense of stuff.
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them…
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
Excerpt from the blessing, ‘At the End of the Year,’ from the books
Benedictus (Europe) / To Bless the Space Between Us (US)
I’ve just come back from the Island where I toasted the last sunset of the year in good company. I’m about to start the four-hour ribs for tonight’s dinner. We’re pork only today and tomorrow because I can never remember whether it’s New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day that it’s unlucky in Hungary to eat fish (wealth flows away), fowl (wealth flies away), or ruminants (not quite sure what the deal is with these). Thankfully, I’m celebrating with old friends who’ve had years to come to terms with my madness.
Whatever you’re doing to herald in the New Year, be safe, be healthy, be kind to yourself.
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit. Boldog új évet. Happy New Year. 
Thanks for reading.

9 Responses

  1. Ahhhhh. Your writing is balm for the end of a stormy year and a reminder of the sweet potential of a new one. Wishing you every blessing your lucky pork ribs are sure to bring!

  2. I, for one, filled in your leading title with ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’ (Douglas Adams, 1984 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6091075-so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish fourth book in the trilogy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) but it makes as much sense of 2021 as anything else (perhaps more). I suppose most readers did… I appreciate the reminder to go back and re-read the triology, to find hope, strength, and happiness for 2022. I am especially grateful for your grateful series, and for your musings. Thanks for all the fish.

  3. There’s certainly something fishy about the fourth book of a trilogy! But we’re well rid of 2021, and 2022 looks very promising.

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