Most of my journaling these days has to do with trying to keep up, trying to get things down on the page, things I’ve been meaning to record, to think about, things that are happening. The school boards here are contemplating a switch to remote learning after the holidays, the shop is busy and bustling and we’re also trying to get a jump on some projects for the new year.


As we roll around into the end of year, it’s a good time for contemplation, looking back at year 2 of the pandemic, what has changed, what has mellowed out into a new normal. Here are a few prompts:


  1. Things you want to remember about this year. While there were a lot of really heavy things in the news, a lot of disappointment and unknown, consider taking the time to look for the good that happened for you.
  2. An event or a memory or a change from each season of the year, when that second cat joined your family, when shops started opening again.
  3. How your city or town changed in this year. CafeTO was an initiative in Toronto that allowed restaurants to open patios into the lane of parking on streets, and it completely changed how our city looked and operated, but there were lots of small things as well. The libraries, shops, museums.
  4. What you spent time doing, the minutes and hours of your life this year. Did you spend more time cooking? Reading? Homework with your kids? On your phone? On Zoom? Perhaps a bit of a daunting thought, to do that sort of calculation, but to consider how you spent your everyday days.


You could take one of these and write a few pages on it, continuing on even when you think you have nothing left to write, because that’s usually when the good stuff comes out. Or however you like, no one but St. Nick is watching these days, and even he seemed to be having off-days.


It’s been a lot. Some of us have been spending more time with our journals than usual, some of us less. Sometimes that first page or that first line after a long absence is the hardest, but doing it regularly usually feels cathartic and grounding, taking the time to think, taking the time to write, seeing the pages fill up.






In any case, this is a quick blog post as the days seem to be swooping past faster and faster. Some days it feels like all we can do to keep our heads afloat, making decisions that are going to affect our children for years to come. I hate the idea that these are just “lost years,” as experts consider the widening gap for children who have missed lots of school, or for whom school is less effective than it was before, but even for myself and ourselves as adults and as humans. Some things are on pause—traveling, projects, get-together—but we continue onward, life continues onward.


And in this onward plummeting, our shop is open, holiday hours are here, the team is busy six days a week, keeping things humming as best we can. I’m working on being grateful with eyes wide open.


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December 17, 2021 — Liz Chan

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