Year One

So here it is, another 2020 year in review post. Sure, everyone’s doing them, and for good reasons. When you see so many lies fall apart in one year, your only option is to speak your truth.

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. My family is healthy. My friends who got Covid recovered. I never had to stop working. If anything I feel like I got a dress rehearsal for this year in 2019. A tree fell on my in-laws house at the beginning of the year, and a pipe burst in my house flooding my family room at the end of it. We only just cleared out the clutter in our storage area from when we had to scramble posessions in and out of both houses in time for the new year. By the time the pandemic hit, it felt like it was just the latest in the series of crises. This was before the riots and the forest fires, of course.

I’m still crushed and exhausted by this year, but I think I might have underestimated my capacity a little. I don’t think stress is a true binary, like newtons of force or the seconds of time. You can maintain a holding pattern during a crisis, but suddenly you take on more work willingly and find more resiliency. Is it because you’re choosing your own ordered pain over the chaos of the world? Maybe. There are probably some really good studies about it that I don’t have in front of me right now.

It’s easy to focus on the negative. Our ancestors who only focused on the positive didn’t live to tell the tale. That tiger’s not going to care how many blessings you’ve counted if you don’t stay alert in the underbrush. There’s so much danger now, and not all of it clear and present, that we have to triage in ways that only Homo Sapiens can. 2020 wrecked us in ways that our ancestors couldn’t comprehend. How could we have foreseen that we would know exactly what to do to keep everyone alive, but not do it because our power structures wouldn’t allow it? We are used to thinking that our leaders are accountable, but the fact is during an emergency we are kind of held hostage by their incomplete decision making. Competing for control over those power structures isn’t going to help. This crisis was created by the concentrations of power we already have. To replicate those systems is to repeat our own mistakes.

This is why 2021 is the year we find our friends. No matter what form our society takes in the coming year, it will be made from the same thing: people. We need to find where we stand within our communities. We’re not out of the pandemic yet, so this is going to be tricky. The major social networks make this difficult, because they are about “engagement” and not communication. If you’ve ever taken a week off Facebook, you’ll notice how your notification bell howls in anguish at your absence. If you have connections you value on Facebook or Twitter, see if you can talk to them on some place smaller, like through a text message or a phone call. If you are able to, set up your own website to host your content. Put a link to your stuff in the comments wherever you are reading this. Put out more art, put out more thoughts, do not be a passive consumer to fate. We are still creating the future here.

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