So goodbye, 2020. It’s been, well, surreal.
As I, like many of the other rough beasts out there, slouch towards our proverbial Bethlehems to be born, I started thinking about what possible good points, positive takeaways, we could all salvage from this dreadful dumpster fire of a year. And I came up with a few personal wins, but also a few dreadful losses.
Starting with the negatives, well, my list runs pretty much to varying degrees like most people’s: the awfulness of lockdown (thank you, Covid), the fear for personal safety (again, thank you Covid), the loss of regular routines (ditto), to name just the high, er, lowlights. And while I can safely say that I am luckier than most when it comes to lockdown partners, it still is true that eight months of togetherness can stress even the most rock solid of relationships. While we both frequently say how fortunate we are to have had each other while going through a global pandemic, my wife and I both agree, too, that we have not handled 2020 as well as we could have. While some friends have exercised, studied new interests, read new authors, explored new hobbies, and learned new cuisines, we — like most people, I’m pretty sure– have decidedly gone in a different direction. We have settled into a decidedly miasmic funk that has permeated and, not ironically, completely annihilated our drives to do the things that we really felt defined us as individuals and as a couple. In short, lots of Netflix, less personal activities that elicit wonderful personal gains.
I’m looking at you biking, hiking, and exercising. I know you’re hiding out there somewhere.
My hope is that 2021 will bring with it a new outlook, a fresh start, one free from the constraints of a deadly global virus. I don’t mean that I think all of the ingrained bad habits that have formed this year will miraculously disappear. Rather, I’m really hoping that I can muster the strength to reverse some of the damage that I’ve incurred, and with the reversal get back on a good, healthy path.
Not that I want to throw out ALL of 2020. Some very good things have brightened the darkness. I won’t start in about the brightening political landscape in the US; I’ll just sit back and continue breathing my long sighs of relief and continue hoping that we will all be on a more even keel from here on out. I won’t even talk about the development and distribution of a vaccine for the Coronavirus. That’s a massive positive. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on the uptick in writerly discipline I have been experiencing as of late. More time on task, more devotion to the stories that are queing up in my head, and rising confidence that what I want to say has value and is worth saying. It has been a rough year, no doubt. I’ve garnered more rejections this year than in recent memory, and some have been hard to take (primarily because I really love the story that keeps getting rejected–which has only made me double my effort to edit it– a win), but the glimmer of hope is that I’m committed to keeping on toiling away at the thing that intrinsically makes me who I am.
And while a deepening devotion to my craft is a definite source of hope, my biggest, shiniest moment has got to be the birth of my grandson, Colin. My daughter’s pregnancy has given me lots to worry about in this disease ridden year, but the early birth (not too early; right on time for him, actually, even though his due date was two weeks after his arrival) of my fourth grandchild has been the brightest spot, the best Christmas gift, and the most miraculous turn around I could hope for in all of this direness.
And that is what I will take away as the biggest win of the year. New blood in the family can only revitalize us, give us new and wonderful things to look forward to. Vacations, holidays, family dinners– all in a post-Covid, vaccinated world– all will take on new sheen, new hopes, and deepen the love we all have for each other.
That, I guess, is my Christmas wish here in the waning days of 2020. Goodbye, begrimed and miserable year; hello and welcome to hope, all decked out in its shiny new duds. We all missed you, and need you, desperately.