|“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”Alfred Lord Tennyson|
|It feels good to write again for my own enjoyment. It feels good to come back to writing in my own space and on my own time. It feels good to come back to the embers of my dreams and find that they are still warm and easy to bring to flames.|
Up until 2020 I had a sense that time was accelerating. However, since COVID started, it seems now that the days are short and the years are long. Looking back at January 2021, it’s hard for me to believe everything that’s happened. And yet, hardly a day went by that I didn’t wish for more time.
2021 began well for me and my writing. So as not to retraumatize people I won’t recount national and global events, but I will say on a positive note that I was in a good groove with monthly newsletters and at least weekly blogs and other posts (www.benzikluger.com). Part of my motivation to get in a good writing habit was the knowledge that if all went well I would be a father by the end of the year.
But it wasn’t fatherhood alone that broke my writing habit. It was a combination of mostly good problems. The neuropalliative care service I started at the University of Rochester got a lot busier, I added 2 new grants to my already busy research program, and the International Neuropalliative Care Society (www.inpcs.org) had a banner year including our first annual meeting. An additional drain on my writing time was editing a two-volume edition of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology on neuropalliative care. With over 30 contributing authors, me and my co-editor expected some late chapters. As you might imagine, 2021 affected our authors (and to be fair me and my co-editor), dragging out what was already a big project.
On November 6th 2021 Felix Joseph Kluger was born. Felix is not a family name. Rather it came from a desire to bring joy into the world and for our son to be blessed with luck and happiness. Despite his odd sleep habits (sleeping like a baby isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be) and a frustrating inability to use words, Felix has truly been a blessing to me and Sarah and an amazing spiritual teacher of love, awe, trust and patience.
And I’m finding that the writing habits that worked before Felix are not working. As Felix learns to sleep better, as I learn new juggling acts (including to write in shorter increments), as new projects settle down and new teams get off the ground, I will write. Just as I am today.
I have a resolution to get back into regular blogging, get two books to publishers (the Handbook and Navigating Life with a Neurologic Illness), and find an agent for Dangerous and Expensive Bullshit. My resolution is balanced with humility. For me the lesson of 2021 is: Simply do your best to make the world a better place and practice kindness. As one of my Colorado Zen teachers, Steve Crisman, was fond of saying, angels could do no more. An additional lesson, compliments of Felix, is to practice deep empathy and not take people’s bad days personally.
May we remember and honor those we lost in 2021. May you find joy, love, wisdom and surprises, if not success, in your wild dreams and new beginnings in 2022.