Nah, not really. I thought about writing to you many times over the last three months, but I wasn’t sure I had any positive, fun things to tell you. And you know what our moms and grandmas always told us: If you don’t have anything nice to say…
So here I am, with my year-end random neuron firings about things that happened to us, individually and collectively, and what I’ve learned from it all. Stay with me — there’s a quiz!
If there are any lessons or maxims I’ve learned over the last nine months, they’ll be in this list (in no particular order):
- Many — heck, most — heck, all — of us have gone soft in our nearly endless comfort with doing what we want, when we want, and with whom. And we tend to be not very nice about being told to do otherwise.
- There is always something to do at home! (Most of it involves drudgery and some unpleasantness, but it’s a great feeling when a task is done.)
- The world did not fall apart when our kids weren’t forced to take semester exams. And it will continue to spin if they’re not forced to take them when they return to school after break.
- Lots of people possess kindness and cruelty in equally passionate measure. Exactly when those sides come out to play depends upon how uncomfortable we are with our situation at the moment.
- Being alone is not so bad. I’ve had a lot of practice at it since March. I know there are those who would give an internal organ for some peace and quiet (I see you, moms and dads of little kids, and those whose spouses are working from home and are f-o-r-e-v-e-r n-e-a-r ), but the grass on the other side, and all that. Besides, I have Remy. What’s not to love?
- Teaching a performance ensemble remotely is crappy. I’m not one of the Kool Kids who jumps into the “virtual choir” vat fully clothed. The truth is you have to not only have the tech available (which I do), you have to have a majority of kids who are unafraid to sing solo (which I don’t). There are so many moving parts to this problem, there’s not enough space in my brain to share it today, so I won’t. Suffice to say that for good or ill, and for a litany of reasons, I won’t be offering my students any ethereal, esoteric, transcendent Eric Whitacre virtual choral experiences this year, or any year over the next three. Did I mention that I’m eligible to retire in the summer of 24? Down to three fingers…
- The people who have lost their jobs over this pandemic need help, and they need it now. I took a substantial pay cut this year, because events for which I am paid supplemental contracts were canceled. And boy, am I feeling the pinch. I’ve complained loudly to my family about it. However, I’m still guaranteed a paycheck, and I’m making ends meet, which is infinitely more than can be said for millions of families in this country who are looking at destitution next week, or close to it. So I really need to snap it shut and do what I can for people who have next to nothing, because the “haves” seem to have run out of, well…give-a-darns.
- I’ve realized that all our anger about <fill in topic that honks you off> only serves to make us a slave to it. The anger, I mean; not the topic. We need to let that crap go.
- You will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever change anyone’s mind about their politics. Never. Never, ever. Please stop arguing about it, because you’re neither listening nor being heard. Savvy?
QUIZ: What is something you’ve done, noticed, or are happy to have realized since February? Points will not be deducted for clarity, spelling, syntax, or general snark. Insults will, however, earn you an F. If you want to say something political, it has to be super creative and not snippy.
I conceded in a disagreement in YouTube comments. I said ‘Yeah, ok you make a good point’ and thereby became the first person, I believe, in internet history to make such a concession.
Huzzah — and as hard as that probably was, hopefully it might be a bit easier next time. At least that’s been my experience. Many in my family (immediate and extended) hold political convictions opposite to mine. I try not to make that an issue, but I’ll grant you, it’s tough.
4,7and 9 really resonate with me. Since February, I’ve seen the true nature of some people. The lack of empathy astounds.
I’ve also seen the good in people during this horrible year. There are folks who give everything to help their fellow citizens. Some have even given their lives. ?
I want 2021 to be filled with love and peace for your family and neighbors. We’ve all been through enough and we need a break. Give someone a kind word today. It all starts with one…
Truer words, Mave…
During this crisis, we’ve definitely seen the best and worst people have to offer. And if we are rewarded in any way for 2020, I also hope that 2021 will bring peace. Our nation needs to heal in so many ways. You are spot on when you say that we’ve been through enough. A break, already! Peace!
I’ve learned that puppies are hard work but worth it.
Due to a sore heel I now understand why my mom was often crotchety. Constant pain wears you down. Thankfully she is now singing with the angels, pain-free.
Thank goodness for the internet. It allows us to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. I can’t imagine life without it. Some curse it and I can understand that.
I love you Miss RF. You are a star for many people.
If anyone has been through the absolute highs and lows of 2020, it’s been you! (I too am glad your mama will never know any more pain **hugs**)
Someday, I will write a post dedicated to our friendship: how we met and have remained great pals for over 20 years — that would be fun!
I love you too, vriend — we zullen elkaar weer ontmoeten!! <3
That would be so cool!!!! I could write something at the same time and see what we both remember.
Personal and professional events have brought vulnerabilities and strengths to light for our family. They have also allowed us to see things through a new lens.
We’re heading into 2021 with empathy and anger in equal parts (we very much resemble number 4)… but hope to use those emotions to support and fight for positive change for all.
Stay well, keep that sense of humor nice and supple, and give your pup some extra hugs from PA. Heaven knows our Alice (and I believe all furry family) has been a therapist / comic relief / personal trainer this year… even when she’d like to have some time to herself. ??
I too have experienced the double whammy of empathy and anger. It’s exhausting, and if there’s one thing 2020 has taught me, it’s that we can’t do someone else’s caring for them, and we can’t force a person to care. That’s a big bite to chew.
I’m glad Alice has brought you joy! I will tell Remy you think he is a good boy, then give him an extra piece of jerky. So glad you’re still “here,” Darice!
What to say…been a helluva year!
I have a new Granddaughter I have yet to hold or even see; racially it feels like 1968-1970 except now there are videos a plenty; I learned there are very few actual essentials in my life; I have witnessed horrific acts of meanness and tremendous examples of kindness and compassion!
I lost two more good friends to Agent Orange served cancer…I hate (I know, strong word) war!
I miss my sons more than I can articulate and cherish friends. COVID cost me more $$$ than I ever imagined I would have and I remain surprised by Joy!
Finally…the thrill of seeing a Finkster notification in my inbox was and is indescribable!
Be Blessed Dear Friend!