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14 May 2020

The Calm Between

Words fail.  But we try anyway.

By this point, it's cliché and a bit trite to say that we're in unprecedented times, in the midst of an ever-changing situation, living through history… but it's absolutely true.  There were certainly jokes early on, when we were comparatively uninformed, but no one really expected at the start of the year that we'd be in the midst of a global pandemic a few short months later.

Locally, we've come a long way. In just a few minutes, the "Stay at Home" order for Pittsburgh and many surrounding areas, which has been in place since the evening of 23 March, will officially be lifted.  Fifty-two days and four hours in total, just shy of one-seventh of the entire year.  A lot has happened since then, and a lot hasn't.  Events postponed or cancelled.  Plans scuppered, classes virtualized, and goals deferred.  But there's also a long way to go: more testing and tracing is needed.  There will be future flare-ups in our epidemics and, inevitably, more resultant deaths.  May we have the collective and individual strength to face that challenge and keep it manageable.  For now, I'm trying to savor the occasional liminal moment of calm in between all the uncertainty, doubt, fear, and anxiety.

In work and in life, it's been easier than ever to lose sight of my direct impacts.  New patterns continue to emerge, and on average, I know I'm doing okay and contributing positively.  But on any given day, the reality is that everything is, at best, just a little harder.  And the thing about everything being harder is that every thing is harder.  And those things add up.

So it was with great relief that I found another piece of purportedly-free clipart without too much trouble so I could bake another bloggy cake for a special birthday blog.  With 2020 so far being a year replete with almost every cancellation imaginable, it's important to try to keep the easy streaks alive.  It's already digital; no further social distancing is required.  ;)

Random tangent: If this blog were to be anthropomorphized even further and ascribed a female gender, I suppose you could say it's celebrating a quarantinceañera.  That is a portmanteau that exists now.


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01 January 2020


Twenty-twenty.  A new decade.  Yes, even in a technical sense.  No, I don't remember having this same argument ten years ago.  I'm not sure why it's even a matter of debate.

Just like last night, I'm really not sure what to write here today.  I'd love to mark the occasion somehow, but for a number of reasons — not least of which is some work deadlines I have to resume tending to in a few hours — I have not felt up to the task.

One thing I do know is that I'm left with a similar sense of je ne sais quoi right now as I had when I embarked on the last decade.  (Although looking back, I guess it was nine years ago that I wrote that.  Bah.  The convergence of math and culture are hard.)  In the latter half of the decade now past, I embarked upon my career, so inevitably questions now arise such as "What more am I going to do with it?"  And since I'm about to reach a power-of-two birthday, I'm also thinking a lot about life more broadly.

Not that I'm itching to change all that much.  Not right now, and not all at once, certainly.  After all, just like I wrote then, today is little more than the day after last.  But years and decades are long spans of time, and I certainly don't want to stagnate.  (Looking far back, I'm reassured that I didn't actually stagnate as much in as many aspects of my life these past 9 or 10 years as the day-to-day myopic view has often convinced me.)

In any case, 2020 certainly feels more momentous than 2010 (or even 2011) did.  Maybe that's just because it's been talked about for literal years, much like 2016, since basically the day after the last US presidential election.

Or perhaps, as you may have guessed from my doodle, it just has that Barbara Walters ring to it:

Whatever the case may be, I know there's a lot to come in this year and this decade.  Here's hoping it's mostly for good and growth.


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