What a difference a year makes.
I didn’t go on a fabulous trip abroad or eat at a gaudy restaurant with sparklers and melting chocolate orbs.
This birthday I took myself to a botanical garden, which was beautiful and exceptionally peaceful. Walking their gardens reminded me of things meaningful to me, like the roses in Portland and Kyoto’s Japanese maples.
I stood on a bridge under a ginkgo tree. The leaves were golden, and I watched them fall like fluttering fans into the water. I had a moment of overwhelming sadness. I thought of where I’ve been, where I’m going, and who I wish I could be with. The ginkgo kept pouring its leaves onto the ground, and all I could see and feel was a profound loss.
Physically, emotionally, psychologically, and professionally – in every way, I’m tired. I’m tired of headaches, sour stomachs, mask indentations, and cracked skin.
I’m tired of the excuses, the conspiracy theories, the naysayers, and the contrarians. I’m tired of empty shelves, empty supply rooms, empty rhetoric, and empty promises. I’m tired of solitude.
I’m tired of thoughts, prayers, and well wishes coming from those who disregard every rule, request, and recommendation out there.
Even if one personally hasn’t suffered tragedy doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. We can get so comfortable and so blind in our bubbles that we forget and maybe even deny others’ suffering and loss.
We know what to do, so just do it. Don’t wait for some sleazy person in leadership to say so. We are all tired of words.
The trouble is, being tired doesn’t make the problem disappear. And despite the arguments and technicalities that can be created, people who do as they feel they ought to be able to, and not as they ought to, are a huge part of the problem. Don’t blame everything on the politicians.
Their arbitrariness doesn’t negate common sense and common decency.
The garden at the top of the hill is named after a daughter. Her name is carved on a bench overlooking the mountains: Hope. I was reminded that birthdays are for wishes.
I hope they come true.
Sharon Tseng is an anesthesiologist.
Image credits: Shutterstock.com