One Step at a Time

Pat Fitzgerald

I look around cautiously … my breathing slow, steady, rhythmic.

I listen … John Wick (of all movies) fighting and umph-ing and ack-ing and uh-king in the background. But that’s all. John Wick is riding a horse through city streets, no less. That’s some feat.

It is the day after New Year’s Day. Celebrated New Year’s Eve with my family, spent yesterday with my brother-in-law, reorienting him to the outside world a little. It was a good day.

I look around again … cautiously.

Has the bad luck from 2020 followed me into this Saturday matinee? Is the boogeyman waiting for me to take a misstep so he/she/it can jump on me with both feet?

I didn’t really have a horrible 2020. I lost two people I loved, which was heartbreaking. I cleaned out a hoarder house and had to give up a totally new start on my retirement plans by giving up a few projects/things I wanted to do.

I did have blessings every day. I have a partner who supports me, a dog who hangs with me, a cat that loves me. I have improved my blog ratings and found dozens of fantastic artists to share with you and cleaned places in my house that haven’t felt the dust rag or seen the light of day in 15 years. My mammogram was negative, as was my Covid test.

So the positives really do outweigh the negatives.

But I’ve also become more spacy in 2020. I have dropped more, forgotten more, cut more fingers and gotten more black and blue marks than in years previous. According to my partner I am forgetting more and understanding less. 

I find myself watching every step going down the steps and making sure 10 times the stove is off and am self-conscious walking across the snow. I get flashes of what it would be like to slip on the stairs and come crashing down a level, to slice my finger off cutting an onion, or slipping in the shower.

I hate suddenly becoming so self-conscious.

Think of all the things we did when we were younger. We all have episodes where we should have wound up in the hospital — or worse. But we played, we took chances, we goofed off and put our lives in fast forward.

I watch 2021 spread slowly across the world and my life and don’t want to live in fast forward any more. 

I find myself taking smaller bites and relishing each, individual one. I have lost some sense of smell, but take one spray of scent every morning. I text friends when I don’t really have much to say, and hang with my grandkids even when they are off playing with each other. 

2020 was a year of nightmares — but not being able to move forward is a nightmare, too.

Let’s make the most of the possibilities of 2021 — just maybe one step at a time.