Once again, we come to the Northern Hemisphere’s winter Solstice, the day of longest night.

For me this is a time to reflect on the year just past. A time to take stock of where things stand: try to celebrate the year’s victories, while acknowledging the struggles and missteps, and what I’ve learned from both.

Friends, this has been a rough year. Probably the most difficult of my 52 years on the planet. And that comes at the same time that I’ve had a lot of movement forward, victories to celebrate, and vibrant connections with people to sustain me. Many of which happened recently, helping to fight back the dark.

The forward momentum was strong. The headwinds were, on the whole, stronger.

And it occurs to me, writing this on the darkest day of a dark year, that it’s worth remembering that sometimes the victory is just being able to hold pace against those headwinds. And sometimes the victory is being able to move against them at all, even if they’re pushing you back; that losing the least ground possible is a win.

And you know? Hope, like the light, will return.