I often do a year in review post around this time. It’s been a hard one to get my head around.
2020 will be rembered for a generation as a singularly chaotic year. The COVID-19 illness has dominated everybody’s daily lives since the spring.
I feel lucky that, working in the hospital, I didn’t lose my job over it. For several months, I was working more than usual, with about a month straight at the beginning.
It was a year of adapting quickly to changing conditions. We changed the way we shopped, worked, interacted with our friends, spent our free time. Everything was just different.
The people I know who got sick didn’t die from it. Not everyone has fully recovered yet.
Shelley and mostly I kept close to home. She was also working a lot more than usual. We had visited her family in Michigan at the end of 2019, which was a blessing, since the 2020 visit was cancelled.
Instead, we bought ourselves a little camper trailer. I did some renovations to it on the weekends that she was working, and we pulled it into the area parks on the weekends we were both free. We spent as much time as we could wandering outside, paddling the canoe, sitting by the fire, and trying to find our stability in the chaos.
The kids had to adapt as well – limited in-person contact with friends, learning how to do school remotely, and just dealing with the disruption during a really formative year for each of them.
I cooked a lot – and stretched my skills in the kitchen, learned new techniques, and kept figuring things out there.
I am really happy to have been locked down with my strange little family. I know a lot of people who have been isolated by this. And I also feel really cut off from most of the people I love, and enjoy spending time with. Knowing myself, and my occasional hermetic tendencies, I would have been very shut off, which would not have done my personal health any good.
2020 has been chaos. It has also been sadness, maybe even moreso. Sadness for the people who have lost loved ones; for the people who can’t even mourn according to their traditions because of these restrictions; sadness for people who are struggling – because of work, lonliness, or struggles with mental health.
The Pandemic took whatever was happening, and turned it up. Stress went to 11, but so did bonds. Organizations which were doing good work before, got better. Organizations which were unstable started to fall apart. Some people leaned in to help their neighbours, and others let their worst nature free, seemingly just because they could.
The vaccine started rolling out, and that will be the story of 2021. We can see that the virus will continue to dominate all aspects of life until the fall at least. And then the recovery starts. What will that look like? That is to be determined. It will be shaped by the community and those who fight for improvements.
I am tired. It’s not been a year of restful sleeps. It’s not been a year of great hope. There’s a lot more chaos to come before the hope and rest can take root. But I’m ready for it. Surfing the waves of disruption.
2021 will bring hugs, and gatherings, and I need that so badly. I miss my people. I miss spontaneity. I just need to find some stability again that includes bringing the people I love into my space, and sharing stories and food and building those cultural bonds.
And it will be great.
You can never solve a complex problem. It’s in their nature to be unsolveable. But we can make improvements. And incremental change for the better.
I will continue to do what I can for my family, my people, and my community. And I know that I am in good company there.
Happy New Year! I look foward to seeing you before too long – on the streets, or at the pub, or in the kitchen. And I’ll know that you’re smiling back, because I will see your face.