Wednesday, March 1, 2023

2023 Word of the Year: FEAR: Forgetting Everything's All Right


Alligator, Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Dauphin Island, Alabama. December 2021. Credit: Mzuriana.
Alligator, Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Dauphin Island, Alabama. December 2021. Credit: Mzuriana.

FEAR: Forgetting Everything's All Right. 


Let's get some things straight right off. I am NOT one to embrace any of these ideas: 

  • Everything happens for a reason. 
  • Everything turns out for the best. 
  • Everything is going to be all right. 
  • It's God's will.

What I can embrace is that in this moment, and this next moment, and now this one - everything is all right. 

I hearken back to Aldous Huxley's utopian novel, Island, with its chatty birds ever-present (get it?) to remind people: "Here and now, boys. Here and now." "Attention. Attention." 

I began this rootless journey as a woman of a certain age. I'm more than a decade older now. The agent of my future demise might even now be stealthily amassing an army of corporeal insurrectionists under cover of an arterial stream or within or on or behind an organ. Or perhaps a wall is thinning, like the tires of my car, ready to tear or pop at a most inconvenient moment. Or deep dread: Maybe my brain cells - the ones that govern my cognition - are draining rapidly down some well of oblivion, with critical mass as yet not reached, thus not yet on the screen. But soon.

And, too, I have a grown-ass daughter, Kit, who has recently realized that her parents are .... mortal! All of the grandparents are gone now; her parents are the front line. So she'd like to call me back to base, as it were, to be closer to her. I don't dismiss this desire. I will factor the desire into my plans, which have always had intrinsic plasticity.

But in this moment, everything's all right. I can allay fear by remembering this. 

I can make course corrections in my rootlessness. I can change my core mission if I want. I can re-prioritize goals. 

I will plan for various tomorrows, but live in today.

It's sunny today; the temperature mild. I will visit two El Paso friends this evening. We will laugh.

We will laugh despite recent losses in our individual and mutual circles, and despite the uncertainty of tomorrow. I tell myself to remember this when we three laugh: 

In this moment, everything's all right.


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