2022 Shit List
My Momentary Lapse In Optimism
Last year was kind of shit.
Everyone everywhere is under duress in one way or another. Loads of folks’ daily stressors and trauma have increased since early 2020; no doubt about that. War and genocide rage on as always, in peoples’ own front yards and in distant lands only read about in school or heard about on the news or social media.
I’ve said it plenty: we have a good life. Our 2020 was actually pretty sweet; we spent a lot of time safely at home together, and created a ton of art (including this album which we may never have recorded were we not under lockdown.) 2021 was interesting in that it just kind of slipped, seemingly uneventfully but relatively enjoyably through our fingers. It became apparent to me over the latter half of last year, however, that this was our complaint-worthy Covid Year: A series of small dumpster fires interspersed with delightful moments and held together by love, tenacity, and privilege.
I’ve written a lot of light, hopeful essays over the last year. This is not one of them. When I really dug into myself to find the most honest piece to share late last year, this is what resulted. A cranky little account of everything that seemed so difficult about last year, but that retrospectively feels ridiculous to complain about.
I’m still going to do it, though! For your entertainment.
Join me if you dare: it’s my 2022 Shit List.
Hey, do you like paying thousands of dollars out of pocket to have your child’s mouth prodded, stabbed and “fixed” by barely-considerate professionals, only to leave your child semi-permanently traumatized and yourself nervously awaiting the next physical/psychological fallout from such events? This was your year.
I actually don’t mind being stabbed with needles. Blood draws are a little more unsettling to me. I’m not devoutly in favour of vaccines, or against them. I believe that they work, and also that sometimes, they don’t. I also believe that they make you feel like garbage while they are working and, perhaps, for an indeterminate period of time afterwards. Piling Covid vaccines on top of the usual ones or the usual…none…that our family normally gets was a bummer, at best.
There is ample documentation here of the bitter-sweet beauty of my experience moving a long distance this year. There will be more sweetness to come, but relocation is hard. Relocation with a child is harder. We left all of our friends, a bunch of family and cozy familiarity behind for more family, new terrain and routines. We accidentally found out that our old place was littered of asbestos, and that our new living situation is a bit less affordable than it seemed when we made the choice. See that scale of justice, almost perfectly balanced?
Covid? Check. Elusive but obnoxious reproductive and digestive issues for me? Check. Frequent colds for my partner who spends his days trapped in small boxes with his students…Check. Then, masking (for many - not us) ceased, and school started. Now we’ve been saddled with one heavy viral load every month for the last 4 months, culminating in a big scary bacterial pneumonia for our son earlier in the fall. I’m normally a devout herbal healing lady who avoids OTC drugs like the plagues they are medicating. For months, I was taking ibuprofen every few days and even stooped to drinking Neo Citran every night for several weeks. What’s next? Cough syrup? (Just kidding; I’m already there). Seriously, though. Sickness-wise: What’s next? NB: The waiting lists for healthcare are dramatically longer in Nova Scotia (see #3) than they were in Ontario.
When you’re over 40, a friend once told me “you start getting lumps and bumps everywhere, and they’re usually nothing.” Well, I’d already had a few in my 30’s, having had a big breast cancer scare 8 years ago, but my friend wasn’t wrong. Ryan had a thing biopsied and waiting for those results was fun. Then his surgery to have it removed was postponed twice due to Covid-era emergencies and living in the boonies (he still hasn’t had it removed and it’s not looking promising due to the aforementioned healthcare shortfalls). I had some imaging done on myself a few months ago, which I need not get into, but which also revealed more of those “lumps and bumps” my friend was talking about. Those, of course, logically warrant follow-up in the form of … yep, more soulless medical tests.
This deserves a place at the bottom of the list, because while attending school brings my child some joy, a good portion of the time I pick up a tired, crangry kid. Making lunches that will be ever eaten has proven more challenging than I ever expected. Bullies exist, and they suck; even the little budding ones who don’t realize they are shitheads yet. School runs mean going to bed and getting up significantly earlier - no easy feat for a night owl - and coaxing a child who only wants to sleep in on school days out of bed in a process so drawn out that it results in rushing. I despise rushing. I’m a get-there-early, slow-and-steady kinda gal. Best of all, school runs mean school attendance which means child-transmitted illnesses (see #4). This list is eating itself.
Bureaucracy and tax shit
Recently, we were unexpectedly gifted a $17 000 tax bill due to some bullshit about Ryan being self-employed and owing tax money that he never actually collected or was paid to begin with. It just feels like an insult to a guy who works his butt off to net maybe double that, and still ends up in debt due to reasons #1 and #3. The worst part is that, while nonsensical, the government might actually be right?
As my friend gently put it, this stuff all just sounds like “being alive. Being a person.” Sure, but I’m still going to vent about it! And you should, too. If you’re holding any of these sorts of frustrations inside, I suggest you get them out either verbally or in print. Your heart needs to off-gas sometimes, and frankly, the wonderful, mysterious Universe in which we all miraculously reside could occasionally use a reminder that it’s being a total piece of shit.
2023 isn’t going to be like the previous year. I am certain of that. What lies ahead will be worthy of marvel, of accolades, of smiles and hugs and sighs of relief.
That’s not optimism. It’s just a warm, soft fact.