This wasn’t meant to be a new year’s post. But I’ve put off writing in favour of eating a lot of cheese, drinking a lot of red wine and dark beer, and watching a lot of Netflix. And now it’s December 31, and here we are.
Last year, I posted a summary of the first 12 months spent writing this blog. I thought I’d do a similar post for the second year, so here goes.
I also started a new year with a poem that reinforced my belief in the need for remaining open to multiple ways of seeing – a reminder that turned out to be far more important in 2020 than I would have predicted. And even before the pandemic with its associated stress, exhaustion and mental health impacts, I had posted reminders (for myself as much as anyone) that people are doing the best they can, and that we each need to find our own ways to “take good care”.
I don’t need to tell any of you how much of a roller coaster the pandemic became, though my tongue-in-cheek post from its early stages seemed to resonate. Later, I shared something I’d read about regression, which helped me cut myself some slack when all I wanted to do was curl up in a blank-minded ball. Looking back, I far prefer the earlier stages of the pandemic when everyone was rallying together: banging pots and pans on their doorsteps and balconies, posting coloured drawings in their windows, and getting outside for walks – the necessity of the latter was just one of many lessons a puppy helped me learn this year. Time will tell whether the withdrawn feeling of regression was preferable to the angry reality that’s followed: the one where North Americans have somehow managed to politicize and polarize a pandemic, rather than realizing the virus should be a common enemy, not each other.
In addition to all the above, this year also found me stuck in a protest in Washington DC. I tried to understand what people were doing there, and I’m still thinking about how strongly we are each pushed and pulled to be polarized. Maybe we can help prevent this tug-of-war if we slightly change our phrasing at times. If we don’t do something, I fear we’re headed for larger disaster; there’s a case for turning remembrance into something we draw on every day, not just when we’re wearing a poppy.
I also wrote about some people I admire: a cousin whose too-early departure we’re still grieving, a few good men who taught me a lot about the kind of person I want to be at work, and two awesome women who are directly connected to the job I have today (and once debated about taking).
Measured by number, I only wrote about half as many posts this year. At times I wondered if I should just delete the site and walk away. At other times, I remembered that writing is one of the things I do to keep myself sane. And if any of you enjoy reading it, that’s a fulfilling bonus.
I think we can all agree it was a tough year for sanity. It’s hard to believe the many things we saw and/or experienced in addition to the pandemic (it’s worth a minute to check out this list from the Skimm).
I have a lot of thoughts about the end of 2020 and start of 2021, but the idea of trying to write a tribute to this mess of a year – and the hopes it’s given me for the months ahead – isn’t yet an activity that draws me away from the aforementioned cheese, wine, beer and Netflix.
And you likely don’t yet have the energy to read it. Maybe one day.
Until then, thanks for being here: on the blog, in my heart, on this weird adventure we call life.
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