Thursday, December 31, 2020

Closing the Book on This One

Looking back, I realized I did not blog at all in the month of December, 2019. There are good reasons for that. And, now I've blogged pretty much every day this month, and that feels right. I have a habit of setting large unrealistic goals and silly timelines for writing and art and personal growth during the regular breaks I get from school. This year was, of course, no exception; and despite good intentions I have not finished three paintings, though I did one, and I have not practiced and perfected a song on the piano, though I am further along than I was last month. And, I did not finish editing my collection of essays and op-eds -- which incidentally was a goal for all of 2020. 

Oh, well. 2020.

As we bid farewell to an arbitrary collection of 365 days, we know nothing really changes tomorrow. And the same goes for me the next day when I turn fifty-one, though I like to tell myself something is different, or could be. As far as final thoughts on this year, I have to share an annual tradition in journalism and commentary that is one of the few enjoyable things about looking back on the worst year of our lives. To that I give you Dave Barry's "Year in Review: Trying to Find some Humor in a Tough 2020." While there wasn't much to laugh or even smile about these last ten months, it helps to look back on the absurdity of it all. And no one exposes and ridicules absurdity better than he.

Beyond that, with an eye toward how we somehow heal and get better, get further down the road in 2021, I've been reflecting on David Brooks' column "2020 Taught us How to Fix This." Brooks is, in my opinion, an incredibly bright and erudite thinker who poses some relevant and interesting insights for us. In this piece, he is addressing the vast divides we have found between us, and he exposes the downside, or perhaps inadequacy, of the trainings and education we believe can heal our prejudices and biases. Hint: they probably can't. But I will counter that they may for any one individual make a difference. And if they do, then they're always worth it. The key, I think, is to try, and we can only do this by being together, which is Brooks' other point, being together and communicating. For, as I noted in one of my better pieces of writing this year, "As Long As We're Talking," there is hope.

And for one final little chuckle, I have to give a shout out to Avenue Beat, some girls from Peoria, IL, for their song "F-2020" all too relevant goodbye and kiss off to the year none of us wanted, and all of us want to forget. 

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