Blame January

The spacebar on my computer keeps sticking and I have to consciously remind myself at the end of each word to hit it hard. It's frustrating to write when every word runs into the next. It requires constant reversing and starting over when all I want is to move ahead. But moving is in vain; it's January.

We are at the beginning of a new and probably exciting year but at every turn I feel held back. Last week was a series of technical problems, one after the other, that halted all forward motion. Now it's the damn sticky space bar. And it's not as though I haven't tried to remedy it. I've shaken it, banged it on the desk, and taken an old toothbrush to its edges, all to no avail. I tried using the old laptop but it won't charge. Of course it's January, so there's that.

I wonder how much of this is me. Maybe I'm trying too hard, maybe I need to stop and just appreciate being alive. We so often forget how fortunate we are to wake up in the morning, and get up and go about our business. Even if we're hampered by pain or disability or a sticky spacebar, we're still alive. Even if I spend my day watching the cat sleep, I'm still alive. And I'm grateful for that. But I'm not satisfied; that requires progress. And progress is a reluctant participant in January.

As I write the nation is officially in its longest shutdown ever, with no end in sight. Do other nations shut down their governments? I don't think so. It used to not happen here. My father worked for the U.S. Forest Service all his adult life and he never worried about the government reneging on its bargain. But now isn't then, and it isn't progress either.

But at least we can blame January. January is cold, wet, unpredictable, and always a let-down. February is almost as bad—it's still winter—but at least it's only 28 days. And one can spend February looking forward to March when the early spring flowers bloom and the days are visibly brighter. That's progress.

January. Ugh.