The year is over. I wasn’t sure until I heard some government officials confirm it on TV. I then checked my calendar to verify, and they were right! Let’s party.
I remember December 31, 2020 like it was yesterday. I was running a major sting operation, and… never mind. That’s not important. 2020 had been one hell of a year. Skinny jeans and mullets were making a comeback, voicemail greetings were as bland as ever, and somewhere, someone left the oven on. Of course, reality was far bleaker.
COVID-19 changed the world in unprecedented ways, civil unrest sieged American cities, and the toxicity of an election year reaped its hyper partisan zenith across all wakes of life. It’s almost as though everything was collapsing all at once. What a strange coincidence.
If 2020 was the dysfunctional year for the history books, 2021 was the mild strain. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but I made a decision a long time ago to live my life as best I can, regardless of what’s happening around the world.
Each day is a gift, even when stuck in traffic. Well, let’s not go that far. The important thing to remember is that where there’s opportunity, there’s happiness. Happiness itself is an opportunity to appreciate the things around us. It’s not easy sometimes. A lot of people suffer and face hardships. Even more people are no longer with us.
I get frustrated, feel hopeless, and lose sight of what matters all the time. The human condition continues unabated until one day we look back at forty or fifty years and say, “There’s no way all that time has already passed.”
The Year of Living Dangerously
What can I say about 2021 that the news media won’t recap ad nauseam? We’ll hear plenty about COVID, COVID vaccines, COVID mandates, the Biden administration, January 6th, the shameful Afghanistan collapse, high profile court trials, and maybe some sports news in the mix.
We witnessed the inevitable celebrity deaths, with Betty White the most recent at 99 years old. She was the last living “Golden Girl,” which is equally tough to take.The loss of Rush Limbaugh, Donald Rumsfeld, Bob Dole, Colin Powell, and Harry Reid signal a definitive end of a political era. The comedy world suffered a huge loss with the passing of Norm Macdonald at 61 to leukemia.
We lost football legend John Madden and one of my favorite writers, Joan Didion. We lost broadway legend Stephen Sondheim and even martial arts icon Sonny Chiba. The constant thread in these otherwise sad deaths is that most of these people lived long, fulfilling lives. I can only hope to make it to that point.
Outside of the political and celebrity sphere, it was a big year for me personally. Last year, I was living with my father after returning home from a year-long deployment to the UAE. I knew I had big plans for the year ahead. I wanted to get moving on things, plant my roots in Florida, and finally get all my stuff out of storage.
After a long, exhaustive search, I finally closed on my first house. Around the same time, I got a new job as a proposal writer. Some time after that, I finally got engaged. I expected these things to happen but not quite so quickly and within the same year. Fortunately, I was on a streak of sorts. There are still challenges ahead, as always, but I’m very blessed and fortunate to be where I am in life.
The Next Chapter
There are numerous personal projects on the slate for next year. Perhaps I should finish my novel manuscript that’s been lingering for years. I’ll continue working on comics, blogs, and a backload of video editing that’s long overdue. I could prioritize and learn better time management skills. I could also learn to fly. Nonetheless, I’ve got my 2022 planner, and I’m ready to go.
Best wishes for a happy and fulfilling New Year. I’m certain it will be filled with ups and downs as well as unexpected and crazy things. We never know. I leave you with my final drawing of the year, featuring The Hot-Tempered Middle Class Earthworm (a character of mine) celebrating in the only way he knows how.
Happy New Year’s!