There’s a format that my year-end column usually takes: summation of the year, a few comments about some national news event that we all hated, a comment about a local news event that I personally hated, general justification of negative emotions and bad moods, a reminder that your mood will change, general words of optimism, oversharing about my New Year’s Eve plans and a sincere expression of my love and appreciation for being your local advice columnist. This year, I am a drop in a flood of columnists and pundits who feel pulled to switch it up somehow, at least to the level that life got so brutally switched up for us all.
I will say the obvious: 2020 was brutal, and humanity as a whole was walking through hell with Dante and Virgil In Inferno, the punishment in the second circle is to spend eternity bracing against gale-force winds with no chance of rest or peace ever again. 2020 felt like such a monsoon whipping us in every direction, blowing our grip on work and pleasure out of our hands and making us chase down the things that used to sit quietly at our feet.
It was rough, but I don’t feel furious about it, and I’m slowly getting over a surprising amount of guilt I feel for not being as bummed as the next guy. Usually, I’m the Most Bummed Person Ever. Low-grade anger used to course through me daily, and I thought it was natural and part of my identity to hate things openly and loudly. Mostly it just felt really good to hate a thing everyone else was excited about. Being pissed was my personality.
I still hate the things that deserve my hatred, but I have lost all motivation to stay mad. It doesn’t feel good, and others can see that bitterness lighting you up like a “keep out” sign. That might have been my “light bulb” moment, understanding that maybe I wasn’t experiencing the gentleness I desired because I wore my bitter irreverence like a comfy sweater. Basically, this spring I finally started seeing the results of years of mindset work, and therefore I can’t sincerely call 2020 a personal dumpster fire for me because, well, it just wasn’t one.
My day job went remote in March, and I loved it. I live alone, and I hate having people in my house, so it was perfect. I got a stationary bike and started watching Hannibal, which is bloody and queer and right up my alley. I haven’t been on a date all year because COVID-19 showed up as soon as I got my groove back, but whatever, that’s fine. My finances are in absolute shambles like those of so many blue-collar workers, but my lights are on, and I have food, so we’re all good.
I am disgusted by people who flout precautions and continue to spread COVID-19 around our community, but I’ve always disliked idiots who live in an echo chamber. I’ve never been friends with them, and I won’t start now. I recently ran into a person who pretty much changed my life a few years ago—in that painful, negative way—but all I felt was happy to see them in good health and spirits, as well as thankful to be living the life I am today. Things changed for a reason, and they changed for the better in the end. I really am happy right now and not for any tremendous reason other than that happiness is what I feel.
I got problems, but I’m good. I’m content, and that doesn’t even scare me. If COVID-19 were a person, I’d push their sorry ass into traffic, but COVID-19 is not a person, so I’m going to wash my hands, wear a mask and get tested and isolate whenever I feel even slightly under the weather. I’m currently in love with this cheap gewurztraminer at Aldi, so I’ll drink a bottle of that and practice Afrobeat dances by myself on New Year’s Eve. This is not the way I saw my 2020 going or ending at all, but this is the ending I have to work with, and, honestly, it does not suck. See you next year.
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