Oh what a year it was. A slow decline in mobility followed by a lengthy recovery from major surgery followed by developing a heart problem less than two weeks after finally taking one of the vaccines. 11 days before the shot, I had a normal ekg at the checkup. I can’t prove cause and effect, but it seems too coincidental.

2021 was the year I gave up sugar, caffeine, and chocolate, except for minor Christmas indulgences. The year was punctuated by long months of doing the only safe way to avoid Covid: staying away from people. I went to church once. I saw my only brother once. I made two visits back to my old art group this summer, but it felt too risky as autumn approached. I knew all along there would be a seasonal surge, and here we are with 1 out of 4 tests locally being positive.

Still, I have much to be thankful for. I can walk again, and the new knee feels great except on the stairs. I have lost over 15 pounds. I still live at the center of all beauty here in the middle of suburbia. No one in my immediate family has had Covid.

My greatest life lesson occurred when I went to the ER a second time in September, and the guard screamed at my husband to get out of the waiting room. New Covid rules were in place. I sat crying with a racing pulse, remembering the look on his face. Would he go back into Afib on the drive home? Would I see him again? Was I having a heart attack? My takeaway from that has been to not sweat the small stuff, the minor annoyances that can crop up in a longstanding marriage. Be kind, be flexible, don’t nag, don’t disparage, avoid snarky barbs. If I can’t do that for the people I love most, I am a wretched soul indeed.

My only resolution for 2022 is to not make any resolutions, because who knows what the next year will bring?

My hobbies are my therapy, and a great balm for my mental health. I will probably participate in fewer challenges. I will try to take more online classes. I now know what I like to paint and draw and can cross portraiture and people off my list. I like to paint nature: landscapes, plants, animals. I may start a nature journal. Nature is such a big part of keeping my stress level low.

I will probably start many new quilt projects and finish a few quilts. I don’t want to be weighed down by rules and requirements and deadlines. So that’s about it for my planning efforts: I plan to have no real plan. I will decide each morning how to spend my free time.

I am in an art warmup phase, having no great expectations for outcome as I get reacquainted with gouache and watercolor after the holiday crunch. So I like part of this little watercolor painting that I did after a skillshare class, not as a paintalong. It owes me nothing except the happy diversion it provided to keep me from doom scrolling about Covid or politics.

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