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31 December 2021

Muddling through the Middle-y Mush

Gosh, this has gotten tough.

At least I can rely on starting with a generic statement on just how tough I find this.  Why do I do this again?

This time last year, I wrote of ending 2020 "in the middle" of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a year that went by like mush.  Well, if 2020 was mush, gosh, what even was 2021?  Just as vaccinations rapidly ramped up, plateaued, and even started ramping down… suddenly variants! First Delta and now Omicron; or, I guess, δ and ο.  Good thing I learned the Greek alphabet back in undergrad.


There's definitely been a sense of collective burnout in the air lately.  Maybe my persistence here on this blog is a way to rail against that instinct at this particular moment.

But gosh, this has gotten TOUGH.

Why are we so inept at testing infrastructure compared to other nations?  Sure, the specifics of these variants can't have been predicted but, like, it's not as though we didn't know enough to know that something was likely and that maybe we should prepare for it this time.

On some level, every time the situation changes course, there's an element of "we've done this before, so we can do it again"; but on another, there's "oh no, not again", coupled with the knowledge that different situations are, in fact, different — who knew!? — and so tend to require rethinking and reinvention anew.

And absolutely nothing is ever "done" or "finalized" or "settled" anymore.  Not that that was ever strictly true, but it at least used to be true enough to count on to a reasonable degree of approximation.

So there's definitely a Sisyphean empathy going on right now.  Or something similarly discomfiting like that.  I'm too tired to think of anything better.

The flip side of different situations being different, of course, means that 2021 has allowed us to get some good things in, though.  After a year off, we managed to hold Music Camp in July with surprisingly few material modifications, getting it in just before Delta came onto the scene.  As emergency use authorization for vaccinations had only just been approved down to the age of 12, all sorts of considerations and adaptations were considered, and many adopted, allowing us to provide a meaningful experience while cases were near their summer minimums.  Had camp come a few weeks later, or the variant a few weeks earlier, the situation could have been wildly different — if it would have been able to happen at all.

Just one more way in which everything's been a little harder at every turn.

For all the stresses, work saw a successful semester with predominantly in-person instruction.  We're at the point where I, for one, am certainly trying to regain composure from the sort of emergency footing we've found ourselves on for the last nearly-two years, and get back into dealing with a lot of deferred backburner stuff that, in the interim, has grown a bit bigger.  Such is the nature of emergencies, of course.  The endeavor has thusfar seen mixed results: Such is the nature of ongoing emergencies, I guess.  Here's just hoping, however the coming term goes, we're familiar enough with our responses that we can continue to adopt "adapting" into our vernacular, albeit hopefully requiring a bit less of an all-encompassing effort each time.

Other vague personal developments continue.  Again, it's been tough to find the time, the energy, the motivation.  While I'd hoped this would be a significant year in that realm, many of those things got backburnered for a bit, too.  As we close out the year, I am finding support and at least starting to make progress on some.  More in the coming weeks, and further in the weeks after that, I'm sure.  2021 bleeds into 2022: My tasks and goals really fundamentally remain the same.  When will they be "done" enough to share?  Soon enough, I hope.  Finding words is half the battle.  Maybe I should blog more.  (Ha!)

Most years have some unique quality to them, even if it's a bit fleeting and hard to pin down.  But yeah, this time, I'm really struggling to distinguish 2021 from 2020.  Perhaps as I make my way through 2022, that will become a bit more clear.

Random tangent: David's a bit upset that Carson Daly's out of the New Year's scene at NBC, and they've gone with Pete Davidson and Miley Cyrus, it seems.  We'll probably check out a bit, but may stay with Seacrest.  Also, I heard thunder at 23:38 — not often that happens on New Year's Eve.  


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