So 2020 sucked, right? That’s the prevailing wisdom. I don’t think that’s quite right.
Think back to January and February. How was life back then? What did you expect out of the next twelve months? Chances are that was a better time for you, and that if your outlook wasn’t super rosy you probably had at least a few things you were looking forward to.
I can’t say the start of 2020 was a perfect one for me, but in hindsight…it was pretty damn good. I had some awesome times with an amazing person in a relationship I hoped would get me past my own insecurities and really turn into something. I’d signed on to work with Outland Entertainment on a variety of fiction projects, including the publication of my own back catalog. I won honorable mention in the Boston in 100 Words short story contest. Edge came back at the Royal Rumble after being told over and over again by doctors that his neck was never going to be in good enough shape to allow him to wrestle. Donnie Ding Dong’s reign of stupidity looked primed for a swift and decisive collapse. For the first time in a long time, I liked what I saw my future looking like.
And then…someone halfway around the world decided to have the bat soup special and everything went to hell. Plus Edge got hurt again at Wrestlemania.
So I think it’s not fair to crap on 2020. That year got porked just like the rest of us.
But what’s that matter? It’s not like 2020’s got feelings. But you do, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that you’re fucked if you don’t work on those. Don’t simply dismiss the last twelve months. Examine them, acknowledge them, and learn from them.
And don’t forget to think about the positives. Build yourself a narrative based on the good things that happened last year. When I think back on 2020, I’m going to try to ignore the frustration, the loneliness, the uncertainty, and that underlying frazzled vibration that’s made every task or interaction feel fraught with anxiety. I’m going to think about the day at the zoo. Dinner at Tony & Elaine’s followed by pictures under the lights in Columbus Park. Playing games at PAX East. Reading my story at the Boston in 100 Words awards ceremony. That feeling of accomplishment when I finished writing Black Yonnix. That first trip to the end of the Minuteman Path on my new bicycle. Having to stop in the middle of a ride to let a mother duck and her ducklings pass. Visiting the cygnets behind Alewife station. The short story class that reminded me I’ve got range as a writer beyond ridiculous fantasy novels. Learning to meditate and feeling all the bullshit just melt away. The tasty things I learned to cook. Laughing at Brent Terheune’s Trumper parody. Stepping on the scale and seeing I’d dropped 20 pounds. The realization that a nice afternoon of slow day drinking is so much more satisfying than pounding swill all night. The nights playing Destiny 2 with friends and family. The endless text threads crapping on the hilariously terrible Red Sox. The first time I ran a mile in 9 minutes, then in 8 minutes, then in 7 minutes. Reconnecting with a few people I’d lost touch with. Singing along with Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” like it’s some sort of instinctual reflex. Opening a package I wasn’t expecting and finding a printed copy of my novel inside. Realizing that everything I’ve done to try to better myself works as long as I remember to use it.
So there’s my 2020. Find yours. Trust me when I say it’ll make you feel better. Then go tell the Trumpers and Covid-deniers to eat shit because it’s their fucking fault you have to do so much of this touchy-feely crap in the first place, god fucking damn it.