A lot can change in a year.
|The author, July 16, 2021|
I can point to a few new decorations in the house, a place which I have never appreciated more than the last year. New bins to store my clothes, neatly folded. A shoe stand by the door, which makes me strangely happy.
At a smaller scale, there's me. My hair is longer than it has been since 1988. I have a job. I'm reasonably happy, particularly compared to how I was feeling last summer. I am in good, even great physical shape, even if the doctors want to adjust a few things.
I have also been working on some longstanding personal issues, and making slow progress and gaining awareness.
It has been an unquestionably productive year, filled with music and long conversations with friends.
A year can also pass without much changing.
Like many of you, the slow fade of the pandemic has meant a gradual change in the days, rather than some kind of abrupt snapping back to "normal". I got my vaccines as soon as I could, some months ago. Little has changed, other than me no longer worrying about dying from COVID.
The days are largely as they were last year: I get up, have some coffee and listen to music, get on a Zoom at 8 am, try to work, get some exercise (running 20 miles a week in the park! bodyweight exercises at home!), eat some dinner, watch a little video content, try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Maybe there's some guitar or synthesizer in the mix. Repeat.
I try to avoid the shrieking of the news. It's just gonna bring us down, man. I read a few books, work on my personal issues. Maybe I write a bit, or even meditate. Talk to my friends.
My daily routine became a work of art, with tasks polished and optimized, at times seeming like there are more of them than ever. I cannot recall going to sleep ever being so complicated (or so important).
The environment is still in big trouble. Arguably, so is American democracy. But the sky is blue (when it's not slate gray) and beautiful here in San Francisco.
I am consciously trying to move forward. There is no "going back" for any of us, no going back to before Covid or Trump or middle age or whatever. There is only "what are you going to do now, today?" What does the future hold?
It is starting to look like there will be no clear end to the pandemic. Between variants and the incomprehensible unwillingness of a significant minority to refuse vaccination, I suspect COVID will just keep going, like an underground coal mine burning or a a tire fire, for years to come.
It is too soon to say how or if the changes to work, business, and life will persist, but it seems clear it will never be exactly like it was in the 2010s. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
I look at the pandemic and think about what it might suggest for the future. If we cannot get people to take the simplest measures -- wearing a mask, getting a miraculous, free vaccine (we'll pay YOU to get it) -- to save themselves and their loved ones from something that could kill them and their loved ones in a matter of weeks, how will we get them to make more difficult sacrifices to mitigate or deal with climate change? I guess we will find out.
The world turns. We move forward.
People think I really love the 80s. I guess I do to some degree. I have some fond memories of people, places, and music. But I feel the same way about the 90s and the 00s and the 10s. And even what I remember of the 70s.
But I am really trying to love today, right now, this moment, and worry less about tomorrows to come.
I think about what I want to do, who I want to be. Who can I help? What can I make? How can I make a positive difference?
These are the things I am thinking about today.
Really like this reflection, Anu. Happy 52, whenever it happened. For me, that's in a couple of weeks. Like you, I run about 20 miles a week. Yesterday afternoon I was finishing the sixth mile of a tough trail run--mega-uphill, rocks, roots--when I passed a group of people and heard one of them saying, "His dad is, like, 52, but he's strong--52 can look really good." I thought, "Hell, yeah, it can. It can look just like this." There are so many ways we're all having to be tough right now. Here's to sticking with it.
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