My dreams would soon fade
As windswept dust blows away,
This year has been quite a challenge for us all. Many people, less fortunate and less privileged than myself, have suffered a great deal. Whether losing a loved one, experiencing social injustices, or struggling to earn a living, many people have endured, and are still enduring, much more than I have ever. For this, I have been saddened, no matter how many challenges I have faced this year with my own mental health struggles and financial burdens.
As a psychotherapist, I long ago embraced helping others, remaining empathetic to their struggles and strife. While I understand I cannot assist everyone, I have found a modicum of solace in knowing I continue to serve others during these trying times. And I will continue such an effort throughout the next year and my career.
No matter how much education I have received, I have continued to realize that my biases and privilege will influence me on some level. Therefore, I often reaffirm my professional commitment to recognizing social, cultural, and racial inequalities. This year I have committed myself to become anti-racist, not merely "not racist," in my personal life as well. Whether reading about the history of slavery and racism, exploring my own covert racist biases, introducing my daughter to multicultural sensitive books and dolls, or entering into uncomfortable conversations with family members that challenge their own biased beliefs, I will strive to continue this anti-racist journey into the new year and beyond.
Required to work from home at the pandemic's onset, my wife and I soon preferred to work from home voluntarily. Sure, we had to figure out spending concerns at first (due to a huge bill for my MRI), but we both eventually maintained regular pre-pandemic hours. Coupled with government assistance and saving money on gas and car expenses, we have lived without significant financial concerns. Yet another privilege we have when so many others do not.
Why the preference for working from home when we could resume a larger in-office schedule? First, admitted with self-confidence, we are both introverted. We have enjoyed saving ourselves from the daily taxes of social etiquettes and socially appropriate chit-chats. For me, this has lessened the impact of my revolving depressive and anxiety symptoms, which I have managed well, despite the pandemic environment. Second, the singular and most profound benefit from this work-at-home year is the fact that my wife and I have spent so much time with our daughter, Delaney, a.k.a., "Little D." We have embraced the parental dream of catching many of her toddler milestones over the last several months. Learning to walk (well past the average timeline), mastering language (age appropriate, of course), blossoming pretend play, and engaging in social exchanges, just to name some of them.
Finally, without becoming bogged down by the dreaded "C" word and politics, my ultimate dreams and wishes for 2021 entail my family, remaining focused on them, embracing life in the moment with them. My wife and daughter are what matter the most to me in this world. Perhaps it is an evolutionary bias, but I do not really care about such a shortcoming, if it exists. My family (including the larger family outside my wife and daughter) gives me the strength and boosts my self-esteem to strive in all other fields. Family remains my foundation on which all else is built. My writing goals would crumble to windswept dust without them in my life.
These are my musings for the year and aspirations for the next. What are yours, personal or otherwise? I sincerely would love to read and consider them. The empathetic connection among strangers allows a friendship to seed and a larger family to potentially blossom outside our own inner worlds.
Thank you for reading!
You can find and follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Wattpad, and Medium with the writer handle @michaelrkielfictions. You can also now find and follow me on Instagram with the artist handle @michaelrkielcartoons. If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to share it with your friends, fellow writers, and readers on your social media platforms!
Michael R Kiel Fictions
Blog 5 – 12-30-2020
Photo free from wix.com.