2021 or: 2020 Part Deux

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, but likely won’t finish and post it until tomorrow, the first day of 2021. We have roast beef tenderloin in the oven and I’m sipping on a Diet Mountain Dew in the hopes it will help me stay awake til midnight. In a few hours I’ll be playing virtual games with friends, and talking and laughing.

This is normally the part of the year-in-review post where I’d talk about just how much of a dumpster fire of a year 2020 was, but I’m not going to do that. I’m tired. I’m tired of worrying about my loved ones, and hoping they manage to stay safe and healthy until we reach the other side of the pandemic. I’m tired of not being able to see those loved ones in the ways that past me was able to, and which I am now deeply envious of. I’m tired of thinking and talking about COVID, pandemics, quarantine. I’m just tired.

So: instead of bemoaning and belaboring on about how terrible and hard 2020 was, I am going to focus on the good things that happened to me in 2020.

  • I wrote more words of fiction this year than I did last year (13,000 versus 9,000); I completed two short stories with a third that should be done by the time I go back to work next week; and — most excitingly — I sold my first short story, to be published in 2021 by SLATE. I’ll talk more about that whole awesome deal in a future post, but getting this news when I did was a really well-timed boost of serotonin.
  • I found a medication that has finally helped me wrassle my ulcerative colitis under control after seven or eight years of general unpleasantness.
  • I read 45 books this year, not including graphic novels and random short stories. This is the most I’ve read in a number of years. Shout out to not being able to leave the house due to quarantine and watching less TV for helping to make this happen. Favorite books were probably AGENCY by William Gibson and AFTERLAND by Lauren Beukes. My god, these two can write.
  • Last but certainly not least: I am extremely grateful to have a job that I like, that pays me well, and has allowed me to work from home since the beginning of quarantine. I have the best colleagues and I’ve not had to worry about employment this year. This has made 2020 so much easier that it could have been, and I recognize how privileged I am to have it.

So that is the year that was, for me. I titled this post “2020 Part Deux!” which was sort of a joke, but also wasn’t. I don’t think the first half of 2021 is going to look much different from 2020, and won’t until most of the country is able to get the vaccine. The good news is we have a competent president who believes in science and listens to experts taking office in 19 days. This makes me cautiously optimistic that with an actual national COVID strategy at the federal level, we might be able to resume something akin to “normal” in the second half of the year. Time will tell.

I hope 2021 treats you and yours kindly, or at least kindlier than 2020 did. Show up and support those around you where you’re able to, but make sure to take care of yourself first. Happy New Year.

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