Tomorrow marks the final major holiday (in Canada) that we will have celebrated in a degree of lockdown: New Year’s Day.
It’s been more than 7 months since I’ve written here, and more than 9 months since my life looked normal as in going to public places and seeing people without being far away, wearing masks. Since then, vaccines have been approved, and people I know have received them: healthcare workers who for the last 10 months—or more, depending on where they live—have been at the highest risk in this fight to save lives, and for that I am thankful. For the fist time in those 10+ months, there is hope that there is an end to this—and that end is, at least somewhat, in sight, beyond everyone just staying home as much as we can.
Thank you, science, and research scientists, and smart people.
In other years I’ve summarized in my end-of-year blog posts the things I’ve done, places I’ve been, the soundtrack I’ve made, or the books I’ve read (actually, you can see those here). In 2020, I’ve spent 291 of the 365 days this year mostly at home, and other than work, not being terribly productive. The 74 pre-COVID lockdown, pre-physical/social distancing, pre-self isolating days were good ones, though, and one day—even if it is another 291 days—there will be better ones ahead again, too.
For 2020, I’d aimed to embrace the Yes Theory mantra – seek discomfort, and say yes to opportunities. Then it turned out that in 2020, saying yes to things could possibly wind up killing you or somebody else. I’d made a goal to make new friends this year—and combined with the previous goal, to do things and go places. I made a new friend, Kayleen, early in 2020, and we are so lucky to have gotten to do the things we did, even up to March 6, 2020, which retrospectively became known as The Day We Did Dangerous Things because hell, do not go to an escape room, a bowling alley, a used bookstore, 2 museums (one with lots of tactile exhibits and shared high-touch surfaces), a cafe, and a market, all in the same day, during a pandemic, where I think we encountered hand sanitizer all of once—our first three cases, however, were reported 7 days later, on March 12, which is also the day I took the bus for the last time, saw friends indoors and closer than 6 feet for the last time, went to a coffee shop for the last time, and went to archery for the last time. Oh, I went to a store for the last time on March 14: we went to Costco to pick up a birthday cake for my grandma, where I saw a guy wearing a full-head respirator mask in there, the day after the panic buying of Friday the 13th. Then we went and spent several hours having an 85th birthday party that had nearly 20 people at it, some of whom had just got off a plane, and one who’d find out the next day they may have had a COVID exposure at work. Everything turned out fine, but in retrospect—when it’s been MONTHS since we’ve been permitted gatherings of more than 5 people with physical distancing—it seems absolutely reckless and insane. Remember what we thought was normal just 292 days ago?
And then we spent Christmas on Zoom.
It’s been “a year”, this 2020. And unlike most “bad years” (here’s looking at you, 2013), I know tomorrow is in no way a fresh start. 2021 may not be quite as much of a write-off, but we know the struggle of 2020 will continue within it.
And even now when it has yet to even start, I’m still saying it:
Here’s to 2022.
Oh, and in case it’s 10 years from now and I find myself reading this (or in case you, if anyone is reading this, want to enjoy), here is a YouTube playlist of Songs to Stay the Blazes Home To (…yeah, remember when the premier of Nova Scotia told people to stay the blazes home? Or when, on April 7, Justin Trudeau said speaking moistly?), featuring of course, the Speaking Moistly remix (and a remix of the remix), undoubtedly one of the greatest Canadian Heritage moments to come out of 2020.