It’s 2024. The build up has become increasingly uncomfortable. We can take a let-go-let-dog approach, knowing it may turn out incredibly unpleasant. We can try to hold fast to control, but that will likely compound our pain. The only way out is through, friends.
I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions because I’m bad with expectations. The rebel in me is historically the driver, and she tears up the turf when I start telling her what she must do. But here’s where it gets dark (as it inevitably does with me): today’s the anniversary of the death of a great friend of ours, so it’s also a day I climb up on the watershed and look at what’s behind and what’s ahead.
What’s behind is that Chafe and I both made immense changes at mid-life. I went back to school to get a bachelor’s degree (fifth time’s a charm!) and he quit his job to work exclusively for our business. In both cases we’re squished into the paradox of privileged discomfort. The humbling power of 8 am math classes in February, but I chose it. Being away from home for long stretches at a time, painting 10-hour days for 10 days straight, but he chose it. Don’t always know where the money’s coming from, but we chose it. And there is so much to be done that today on a treacherous walk on ice next to a highway I thought, I swear to god if I get hit by a car the last thing that goes through my head as I fly through the air will be, “I GET TO CANCEL ALL MY PLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANS!” Life is full, but I keep reminding myself it’s full of stuff we’re choosing.
In addition to all of the scary things 2024 may bring, for us it brings new mural projects, pro bono work with orgs we love, rock shows, arts programming with youth development orgs, book design, logo and identity work, tutoring, an art show, residencies, and workshops on getting weirder with local nonprofit leaders. We have the great fortune to choose these things, too. We're learning we can stay open to change and possibility as long as we're keeping in our sights our values of creativity and connection to community. It's a path we've been on together for 30 years now (WTAF) and it's working out so far.
Our friend who died seven years ago today would have liked this sticker. He would have laughed in this snickering way he had where he shrugged his shoulders and turned his head away, like he got one over on you. He was aces at laughing — a champ, really — and suffered no piety around potty humor. He left too soon, but gave laughs away like they were kittens and took more than his fair share with him. So scratch what I said before. I do want to make a resolution in his honor, to laugh wherever and whenever I can get it, ‘cause this too shall pass.