The turning of the year is fast approaching. The darkness emerges a little earlier each day, the mornings are damp and shrouded in a ghostly mist, Mother Nature dresses in her finest colors and summons the howling wind to whip up a potpourri of brilliant splendor for our eyes. The burnt light from the harvest moon refracts through hazy windows, illuminating the warmth in our homes. Now is the time for harvesting the seeds that will carry us through the rest of the year. It’s a time to acknowledge and be grateful for the things that feed our bodies and souls. The celebration of our gratitude looks a little different this year, but it’s still worth observing.
The harvest season is a time to reflect and be thankful for all the challenges and joys of living in this world. It’s a good time to sweep up the lifeless gloom that stops us from moving forward. 2020 has been a challenging year, but it has forced me to find the strength and creativity to generate a fulfilling life. Those of us with arthritis or other chronic illness already have some experience living in a socially distanced world. During a bad flare day, we take shelter in the warmth of our homes and connect to the little things that bring us comfort. We learned a long time ago how to say no to social events for our own self care. Our disease has given us the skills to adapt to the unpredictable and endure in the realm of uncertainty.
2020 has taught me how to find fulfillment with a quieter life. This has been an oddly exquisite year with time to re-invent my world and discover the secret joys that have always been hidden behind a busy life – to watch the sun sink over the ocean, listen to the melodious buzz of a hummingbirds wings, breathe in the healing fragrance of the salty ocean breeze; to sit back with that novel I always wanted to read, finish the stories I started long ago, turn off social media and sit on my patio watching the shifting movement of the night sky.
The world is rapidly changing, and I can’t expect to keep up with it, so I do what I have always done – proceed at my own pace. I can’t control the rest of the world, but I can control what I bring to my life and the decisions I make for my own wellbeing, and the people I care about. I am grateful for the life I have, even in this tumultuous year. I don’t question why it took a pandemic to finally calm the rage of RA in my body or worry about how long this harmony will last. I can’t worry about tomorrow. I can only live for now.
2020 has been a challenging year but there were incredible moments and beautiful memories that lit up the darkness. I look forward to the turning of another season, where I can harvest the things that mean the most to me, and plant new seeds for a gratifying life.
Happy Thanksgiving Canada. May we all have safe and happy celebrations.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.