Craft By Zen

Unsplash image from Michael Payne showing a felt Santa Clause
Unsplash image from Michael Payne showing a felt Santa Clause

3 min read

🔖essay   🔖reflection

Season's Greeting and a Happy New Year (2023)

Season’s greetings! And for those who follow the Christmas tradition, a happy, Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all spending time with your loved ones, or thinking about them dearly. It’s the end of my very long and tumultuous year.

In my tough times, I wish I could see everyone again in some capacity. Life changes, our circumstances change, and friendships grow and drift apart. The paradox is that we are hyperconnected and missing out on each other in person. A train ride from San Jose to San Francisco is approximately 65 minutes. And yet it is hard for any of us over 30 to make a spontaneous plan to travel. And when distances span across states or countries, we find ourselves in a long text chain in one of seven apps on our phone.

In my current state of self-reflection and the beginnings of my annual review tradition, the word that has stuck with me this year has been “calm.” When things feel like they are at their worst, my borrowed mantra has been to “share your calm.”

Over the summer, one of the worst things happened. I got a call I feared: my dad was rushed to the emergency room. He fell from the roof while climbing down a ladder, leaving him with a bad concussion that led to a brain bleed. After surgery, being in the ICU, then hospital, then rehab hospital, then assisted living, he’s finally home after a long 4 months. For this period, I’ve taken a part-time caretaking role, and have spent more hours with him than any other time in the last decade. It’s been grueling watching him wax and wane on his road to recovery. Some days would be fantastic, while others felt like major setbacks.

One time when I was shuttling him, he mentioned he only wanted to remember the good memories, and none of the sad ones. It was like reliving the lowest moments of his life, like when his mom and brother died. I cried a little, and I’ve never heard my dad be so vulnerable before his accident.

As my caretaking responsibilities wind down, how do I redistribute that energy? I’m also asking myself, what do I have to accept? And what can I leave behind?

My dad’s injury reminds me our time and attention are precious, and we shouldn’t take those for granted. Recovery isn’t an end condition, but an endless journey. Have grace and patience.

If something I wrote resonated with you, or you just want to say hi, please reply. I miss you all, and I wish you a wonderful 2024. May our paths cross again soon.

With love,
Jeremy