a woman holding her head in her hand

Lessons of 2022

Some of y’all realize I’ve gotten through the last couple of months by self-soothing with TikTok (and thanks, Dee, for the suggestion to take a bath and download the app until I felt calm. I don’t think you expected it to take two months, but here we are…)

I’m not going to go into why the last quarter of 2022 made me wonder a) if karma was coming back to repay me for all my sins or if I’d had a psychotic break and none of this was real, or b) why I couldn’t seem to sidestep drama. I hate drama.

More than once over the past three months, I’ve said that if every day starting Sept. 30 through, well, now, was a TV show, it would have been canceled because no one would believe one person’s life could have that much deus ex machina.

So I’m not going to relive any of it, except, as a way to remember it, I’m going to share my… Lessons from 2022:
  • You can get COVID twice. In a month.
  • COVID brain is a thing.
  • After COVID Rebound, you can then get strep. Immediately.
  • When you get it, the Telehealth doctor will tell you “that’s a result of taking the Paxlovid. You’re just going to feel that way for about four months.” (She was wrong. It was strep, and it was almost worse than the Rebound.)
  • Just because you’re not in the path of the hurricane doesn’t mean it still won’t screw you.
  • On that note, a round trip to Valdosta can be fun with the right person, and there are good people in the world, including the entire print deck crew at South Georgia Printing, who put in serious overtime to make sure we had a paper in Ian’s wake. (We paid dearly, but I’m pretty sure they probably only broke even.)
  • At the end of all this, do not, under any circumstances, say, “Well, the month’s almost over… how much worse can it get?” because 20 minutes later you’ll get a phone call that your dad’s in emergency surgery. It will not get better from here; at least, not for a few months.
  • The Devil’s great lie is not convincing the world he didn’t exist (he does, and I may or may not have been married to his spawn for a few years) but that opioids are not that bad “if you really need them.” I watched doctor after doctor prescribe them for my dad, who, after maybe a few days, didn’t need them. These drugs kept him from participating in rehab and sent him to Hospice where, despite the nurses’ best efforts, he managed to come out of the drug fog enough to say he didn’t want the drugs and would, instead, prefer to do rehab. Fuck opioids and everyone who has a hand in making or prescribing them; they almost killed my father. He’s alive now, no thanks to any of you.
  • The only way to make God or the Universe laugh is to make plans, like, “I’m going to remove all single-use plastics from my life in 2022!” or “We’re going to camp in a remote location over the new year.” Friends, I just threw out a lot of plastic I thought wouldn’t be in my house a year ago, and yes, I did it from my house, where street-side fireworks rage and my wimpiest dog trembles (Calypso, as ever, snoozes and waits for treats).
  • There are no friends like the ones you make before you get your first period. These are the women who will be there for you no matter what. I could kill someone and there are a few women who would not question why I did it; their only questions would be, “Shouldn’t we rent the car under an alias?” and “Which part of the Everglades should we drive to for the body drop?” Hold onto these women, people. What you have with them goes so far beyond “squad” there isn’t even a word. Had I chosen to kill the Hospice nurse who sat my mom down and told her my dad was dying (he wasn’t), these are the women who would have driven me to Turner River, made sure I had chains, lime, and concrete – and a tarp in the rental car trunk – and helped make sure I never served a day in prison.
  • There’s nothing like having a true partner at your side. Things got so much worse for El Cap – and, out of respect for his wish for privacy, I won’t mention what he’s gone through at the same time as all this. We joked that we needed to stop answering the phone, because it was never good news. When I asked him, mostly seriously, what I’d done to deserve the past few months, he held me and said, “well, it’s just our turn.” He was not wrong.
  • There’s always the other side. I’m not sure what 2023 will bring, but I know it will be the other side. Here’s hoping it’s slightly less… like 2022. I leave you with a TikTok I’ve watched more than you may imagine.
@erin.monroe_ #expectationvreality #newyear #fyp ♬ original sound – Erin Monroe

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.