Thursday, December 31, 2020

Hindsight Being 2020

Well, I can't say nothing happened in 2020.

At least, without my tongue in my cheek.

To say it has been an eventful year would be an understatement. I finally experienced my first earthquake. (And there was an aftershock I felt exactly four weeks later.) Another major wind storm struck the area the day after Labor Day, hauntingly reminding me of the one which hit December 1, 2011. (Each of these, by the way, necessitated the installation of a new fence on the west side of the property where I live.) And then there was this small matter of a large viral breakout...

In various degrees, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected each of us. Although my younger brother caught it about two weeks ago and is recovering, physically, I have not contracted it yet. (Please, God, let it not infect me.)

Regarding my two jobs, I took a hit financially. As a school crossing guard for a local police department, I wasn't working in the early stages of the nation-wide lockdown. Fortunately, through the lobbying of the chief of police, we all as a group received the balance of our income for the rest of the school year. (Currently, the school schedule is four days of in-classroom sessions and Friday remotely. There are plans to return to a normal schedule in mid-January. We'll see.) As for the amusement park, where I have been for the past six seasons, that was a different story. Normally open on weekends starting at the tail end of March, the park didn't open until Memorial Day weekend. Along with a reduction in operating hours, they utilized the child labor laws to their advantage. What that meant was I only worked an average of 12-13 hours a week. All in all, my income was down about 20% over 2019. Ouch. (UPDATE--1/1/2021: I did the math again with more accurate figures. It is closer to 15%. Still ouch.)

As infinitesimal as this corner of the universe is, so were my problems. There is no way I can even come close to comparing my lot in life to others. I still have a way to make money; many have lost it all. I am still uninfected; many aren't. I am still am alive; many have succumbed. Indeed, I have been blessed. Indeed, I am grateful. Indeed, I need to pray for mercy and compassion for all.

The one thing which concerns me about all this was how this story is being written. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information and advice circulating. While people can and do question the accuracy, I am questioning the completeness. I think the same could be said about the escalation of racial tension, the rioting and looting which bordered on anarchy, and the election of the President of the United States. Which raises for me a bigger question--will the truth about these events be portrayed? (Remember what the first casualty of any war is.)

The postscript for 2020 has yet to be written, and it may be a long time before the final copy is published. I think the watchword for 2021 will be "recovery". How will we as individuals and society in all its building blocks return to some semblance of normal? And don't get me started on the phrase "the new normal". There is nothing normal about what we have experience the last twelve months. Change does happen, but growing from it is an act of will.

Perhaps the world will adopt my motto for the next 365 days, as I certainly will again.

Go Forward.

Traveling the other direction is not an option.

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