Forward Thinking for Future Times (Day 1, Year 4)

Well, friends, we are here, most of us, in the future. I know it is the present; but every year feels more and more futuristic than the next. And I do like to consider myself forward-thinking, like in the real sense, not in the jargon-y sense (you know like, “Oh this fantastic policy is ‘forward-thinking’” when it is just bullshit.). I try my best to do things with a future in mind. My children often think I am just nagging them—but really when I ask them 701 times to clean the cat litter, I am thinking forward to a future time when the cat will revolt and shit on their bed. 

If anything, I am, indeed, the most forward-thinking person in my house. And of course, the New Year is all about thinking ahead and planning and calendarizing and goal setting and being unapologetic in our fierceness or whatever. (I do think, actually, everyone could be a little bit more apologetic, in all areas. But that’s a whole other topic.)  But, forward thinking for future times also requires a bit of honest introspection and humble reflection. After all, I don’t need to write a resume for myself (I’d hire myself on the spot!). 

2023 felt like a sprint of a year.  There were so many massive shifts in my own orbit. I started graduate school and finished three classes. I stopped writing in Yoke daily and had mixed feelings about it. I helped my oldest apply to college, fought with her 79 times over the process, watched the acceptances rolling in and continued to argue. I struggled a bit to be a good wife, sometimes, so frazzled and fixated on the things I had to get done; but then ended the year in such a solid, less list-y, more love-y place with Mike. My son figured out how to read as a kid with dyslexia—and while I think I helped him a bit—he really did the hard work (and extensive Audible ordering. Listening is reading!). My middle—there is so much to say about her—continues to impress me with her love for us and her love for herself. 

It's not easy to love yourself, friends. But watching Chloe lead with self-love and family-love is truly a gift. I have all her little love notes tucked in my bags, to remind me how worthy I am. Even so, I think through the sprinting I missed feeling bathed in the love that fills our lives. 

And, I cannot end an analysis of 2023, without mentioning our good friend, Cole Fitzgerald. As the year began its wind-down, Cole died  Cole was and is love. 

There is so much to say about him; but I think this one story is the story that I will carry forward with me through all future times and every day. In November, Cole and his family went to a Temple Football game. Cole was a student at Temple and before his second cancer diagnosis was also working for the football team. We walked over to their seats—and had such a lovely time catching up with him and his parents. We always laugh with the Fitzgerald’s. I always leave feeling like I just spent time with family. Afterwards, I got a message from Cole. 

“So happy we saw you guys”

The message before that, from Cole was, “Love you and your family.”

Friends, Cole was 19. 

As I think forward to my future, all I want to do is spend it with people I love, doing things that I love (like writing and reading and eating good meals at overpriced restaurants with my husband and drinking 7 cups of earl gray tea while watching a regency drama) and finding more things to love about this marvelous world. 

If the only thing I look forward to in 2024 is love, then, well, that’s already promising to be a good year. 


  1. We will have many more great memories as we look for opportunities to honor Cole


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