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31 December 2020

Ending in the Middle

Uh, well.  Words continue to fail.  But I'll give it a go.

How to properly synthesize a year that has come and gone mostly like mush?  It's probably not possible, and yet our collective culture remains imbued with the compulsion to try.  Myself included.  More so than usual, TV presenters and news anchors alike have been signing off their final broadcasts of the year with a far more noticeable, and often overt, "good riddance" than the traditional look back.  Fare thee (not so) well.

If you're familiar with my New Year's Eve posts — and frankly, even if you're not — you're probably aware that it's been a good long while since they've had that "holiday letter" quality where I actually recap the highlights of each month individually in any meaningful sense.  I've never really been able to maintain that in the best of times, and — I'm not sure you've noticed — this ain't that.  Sure, I often go through spells of a few weeks to a month or so where I feel I'm deeply uninteresting, but this year, I'm not even sure I could pick out much from my life about the average day from late-March through June.  That, in itself, is pretty remarkable.

So, yeah, after muddling through those first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic (which should need no further context), by July, I'd learned a bit about what works for me and what doesn't when it comes to dealing with the "new normal".  Although aspects of my apartment had honestly not been serving me too well for some time, it's amazing how quickly a living space can almost completely stop working for you when circumstances change and you end up having to use it quite differently.

Fortunately, I also spent much of the extra time at home knowing I would soon need to move from my apartment of 7 years.  Combined with plenty of time in the space and few things to distract me from myself, that provided sufficient motivation to help me cultivate a level of self-awareness that would be necessary to plan a more amenable setup in the new place.

Unfortunately: Moving during a pandemic.  Still not thrilled about that, honestly.  Thankfully, right around a local minimum of cases, which made essential travel and assistance from family possible.

More recently, though, through the holiday season, it's been worse than ever, nearly everywhere in the US.  For my part, the responsible approach has meant a very different holiday period: Christmas Eve Chips-'n'-Salsa over Zoom, though my folks started without me!  One Christmas family gathering that definitely had a time appointed… and then just not followed through upon.  And trying very hard to arrange for some sort of human connection time each day so as to keep my mental health afloat.

There have been positive moments: One reason my immediate family eagerly dug into the chips without me at first was because they had just come out from the cold, having celebrated a brief and "socially distant" Christmas Eve service with members of their church in the parking lot of its brand new building — finally complete enough after rebuilding from a 22 July 2018 fire which I didn't even mention here (I told you I'm bad at this!) that in any other circumstance, it would have been a major celebration.  Instead, services are being recorded inside for the foreseeable future.

Music Camp had to be cancelled of course, but we did a virtual thing which was centering.  I've had some professional and personal accomplishments, too, but it still really hasn't felt right to highlight them amidst (gestures broadly) THIS.

Of course, as I've said before, the end of a year is hardly ever the "end" of anything, but just a reflection point — and, hopefully, an inflection point when necessary.  It certainly feels truer than ever now, heading from what might as well be, and in some ways truly feels like, the 306th of March into the 307th.

I've learned a lot about myself in the last few months, and the work on that — just as our collective work with ending this pandemic — will continue well into 2021.  All in all, I think I've actually been managing reasonably well.

1 comment:

Jim Baxter said...

Well written Tim. (I hope that sounds better than just a teachers comment)

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