Adios 2020

And don’t let the door hit you in the ass….  2021 will begin at 12 a.m. tonight and unless you are looking at the clock you will not be aware the year has changed.  2020 should really slink away in shame and be begging for mercy like some presidents we know. By  years end, just a few hours from now almost 350,000 Americans will have died from Covid 19. And the worse is to come. I can’t comprehend this number, but I know it is one father, one grandmother, one son, one daughter, one sister, one brother…times 350,000.  The amount of grief in the world right now should cause planet Earth to spin out of the Milky Way into oblivion. Instead we are left to 2021, a new year, to renew our spirit and heal our souls.

This past year I have stumbled. My resentment and my hate of Donald Trump have grabbed me by the throat and almost suffocated me. This was extremely damaging to me and I’m sure Trump really didn’t notice. I am resolved I will learn to practice more tolerance and compassion of others and myself.  Fear is at the base of these destructive feelings and I pray for the courage to turn around and confront the Fear. Working from home has been both a blessing and a curse. I can leave the news channels on all day if I want. I can also turn them off or set time limits in 2021. Late this year I deleted my Facebook account and 2021 will be a test of my resolve to stay off this platform. Let’s face it, 2020 has been a real hot mess, but I don’t have to be. 2021 is brand new! 

 In  2020, I’ve learned that humans need human social interaction.  Knowing that I need family and friends in my life does not make me a dependent wimp. It makes me human and interdependent. The refrain “We can get through this together.” has been sorely tested in 2020. Where is the together? You get thru your pandemic and I’ll get thru my pandemic,  and IF we come out the other side we could be  more divided than we are now. We still have a chance in 2021 to get through this together. Everyone has picked their side but there is another option— we all choose to be on the same side.

The economic and racial injustice in our society became front and center this past summer. Is justice dependent on the color of your skin, how big your pocketbook is or who you know? It sure looked like it. I don’t know if we have taken any real steps towards  justice for all,  but we may be looking and leaning in the right direction. Baby steps in 2021.  Standing still is not an option.

Learning opportunities were very plentiful in 2020. Put another way, 2020 sucked. We don’t like to learn new things because it is hard. So as JFK asked do we curse the darkness or light a candle? I plan to light a candle in 2021.

Give Me A Clue

The butler did it, in the parlor, with a candlestick. The game of Clue is a classic board game with rules, but the game of Life can be played anywhere and has no rules. Hardly seems fair. Am I getting “Hot” or “Cold”? I’m afraid some of the paths I went down were taken when my better intuition was screaming “Stop, you’re getting cold, colder, you’re frigid ….” Am I clueless or just not paying attention?

Who? The culprit is me. I’m guilty. I did the deed. I’m always right, until I am amazingly, incredibly…wrong. I’d rather blame you, but I know it’s not you, the other guy, any “other” in fact.  For many years, the truth and I rarely crossed paths. The traits I hated in you were really mine. You done me wrong and I was a victim. The problem was I rarely took responsibility, but when I did I was responsible for everyone else’s behavior towards me. I deserved it, I caused it and I had to stay until I changed it. Running the whole world was my job even when I thought I was a victim, I was just bad at it. It’s hard to be a good actor when you’re  acting in bad faith.  

Where? Anyplace that I called home. There was no geographic cure. Wherever I was I weaponized my arrogant self-hate against myself and others. My reactions and over-reactions were not tied to a spot on a map. I couldn’t outrun myself. Finally I stopped following the bread  crumbs, turned around and said “Boo!  Give me what you got.” It was a messy place for awhile, but at least I wasn’t in a witches pot being prepared for dinner. There were small towns in Iowa that I still think of as where I fell from grace. Time to forgive myself. Colorado has been my place of healing and my return to grace. 

Surely a  heavy candlestick is a good weapon, but I prefer using words.  Words do matter and can destroy an opponent without bloodshed and crime scene tape. Both sharp and blunt words can be effective weapons in taking the life out of someone’s dreams and hopes. My fingerprints can’t be lifted off a destructive rant or lie. Verbal abuse doesn’t leave bruises, but still leaves a mark on the soul. Your tears and my tears are clues a crime has taken place. And of course there’s always “Actions speak louder than words.” My betrayals were news worthy. I now know how powerful kind words are so I might not pick up the weapon of hurtful words so easily

Cue the Pink Panther and Inspector Jacques Clouseau or Sherlock Holmes. Everybody loves a good “Who Done It?” I’ll give you a clue….

Uninhabited Planet

I’ve been having this weird feeling lately that I’m not really living in my body.  An awareness of me watching me, observing my own life, is a strange sensation. So is this the Covid Conundrum? Social isolation may be isolating me from myself. Do I need personal relationships to have a relationship with myself?

Earlier this year, I could walk into “my coffee shop, my home away from home, my office” and be greeted by a familiar face who asked me if I wanted my usual chocolate and raspberry scone. Albeit on a transactional level, they saw me, they knew me and vice versa. Pleasantries were exchanged about the weather and the news while my coffee was being dispensed.  My table was occupied—by me. I had boundaries. I wrote and I worked and life was good. Maybe the best aspect of my coffee shop was the friends who joined me there for coffee. I told them to meet me at my office and they knew what I meant. 

As the world began to open up after lockdown I had to make difficult decisions. Did I feel safe in particular settings and would my friends understand my limits? Several times I had to cancel plans to get together because I was overwhelmed by fear and stopped by a strong belief that the situation was not safe. Friends had different comfort levels and I wanted to be like them, but I had to trust myself. I questioned my decisions and their decisions too, and I began to feel like I was becoming judgmental of myself. I compared myself to others and began to watch myself navigate the post lockdown world and see how I appeared to others. Why wasn’t my comfort level with being out and about the same as some of my friends? Did they know something I didn’t know? 

So now it looks as if vaccine could be widely distributed in my risk level in early 2021. The end of the long experiment of Covid isolation and social distancing will produce unknown results. I know I can’t drop my Covid identity immediately, and I’m not sure what changes the year long Covid world has produced in me. I’m afraid I won’t recognize myself and  I doubt I will be able to slip back into my old roles and life with ease. I’ve  changed and I won’t be the same as I try to fit myself into the new me. It will be interesting.

Vaccine? Who said vaccine?