2020 is a plague - a blog, in 1000 Words or Less
For various reasons, the blog has been on “vacation” over the last several months. As the saying goes, “Life got in the way.”
I like that expression. Those five words can carry an enormous amount of weight…
Family, friends and work (all synonymous with Time), took precedence,
other projects became a priority,
2020 rolled in and,
Australian bush fires burnt 18 million hectares, killing at least 34 humans, along with an estimated 1 billion animals (so far), not including frogs, bats or invertebrates, which could be dying by the trillions.
Democracy died, or more precisely, was brutally repressed, arrested and carted off to prison without due process. Hong Kong, one of the most interesting, diverse and dynamic cities I’ve ever visited, will never be the same. When challenged, Beijing showed its true colours, raised two middle fingers in the rest of the world’s direction and said, “Never mind the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement. We’ll do what we want…”
…and they will because under the (so-called leadership) of an unhinged narcissist and his ass-kissing sycophants, the United States, a nation that acted as a stabilizing force in the world for decades, became an ineffective political laughing stock, a country unable to handle their own problems, never mind anyone else’s.
Closer to home, the man-child prime minister in Ottawa has spent the last several years unarguably proving that his own interests are more important than every other Canadian’s. Shallow, hypocritical and inept, he virtually killed our resource-based economy, gave hundreds of millions of dollars away to other countries promoting his woke agenda and now, when Canadians need the money to stay afloat during the plague, he’s resorted to borrowing extraordinary amounts of cash the country has no hope of paying back. When asked how we’ll service the debt, his arrogant answer is, “Interest rates are low.” This from a government that preached for years about the concerning level of household debt, and whether or not Canadians will be able to remain in their homes if interest rates go up by a single percent.
Finally, of course, there’s Covid19. Thanks to absolute silence out of China, incompetence by the WHO and rampant media hysteria, a bad situation became many times worse, and well…
…here we are, mired in a social and economic mess with no end in sight. I’m not exaggerating when I say, “Life got in the way.”
My creative mo-jo ran for cover and hid under the bed. Everywhere I looked, the situation in which I found myself, the situation in which my family, friends and colleagues found themselves, was discouraging, depressing, and in some cases dire. The headlines were all-consuming. Ironically, social media, the manner in which most people remained connected while dealing with closed borders and fourteen-day isolation rules, was incredibly harmful because the very same platforms fed us an instant and never-ending flood of misinformation, propaganda and uninformed opinion.
The only thing left in my head was anger. There was no room for creative thought.
As days became weeks and then months, I had several conversations with myself, the gist of which was: “Suck it up. Your grandparents lived through situations much longer and much worse than Covid,” namely the Second World War (6 years), and The Great Depression (4 plus years).”
When someone said, “It could be worse,” my first instinct was to agree, “Yes, it could be worse,” while in the back of my mind I thought, “It shouldn’t be this bad in the first place.”
Mildly philosophical utterances that at one time amounted to white noise suddenly became extremely annoying:
“Everything happens for a reason,”
“It is what it is,”
“2020 doesn’t suck. Your reaction to the events occurring in 2020 sucks,”
are smug statements that sound wise and imply there’s some kind of deeper meaning and purpose happening in a world that is burning around us.
My friend, whose husband lost his job and may not ever get it back, who’s looking at a potential job loss herself, who had to defer her mortgage, whose children can no longer attend dance or hockey lessons, should smile and accept there’s a hidden upside in her situation? What about people in worse situations than my friend? Should they be similarly optimistic about the possibility of complete destitution? What about an individual who can’t visit an elderly parent living in a rest home?
The answer to all three questions is unequivocally, “No.”
2020 sucks. Full stop. White noise won’t make it better or easier. I suppose anger won’t help either, but at least anger is substantive…and I discovered, not unusual.
I spoke with colleagues and found we shared the same trepidation about the future of our careers. I talked to friends and they said, almost universally, that they were all living with constant and previously unknown levels of stress and impatience. I read blogs written by people who said they were suffering from a lack of creativity similar to what I experienced. James Scott Bell wrote an interesting, science-based article geared toward writers on the subject.
I discovered something else…
…Somehow, I’ve grown (minimally) used to the shit-show. I’ve reached a certain point of “acceptance” and consequently, the anger that fueled the first half of the year has eased.
My creative mo-jo peeked out from beneath the bed and found the coffee shop where I normally spend my writing time, had reopened (with all the new protections in place). My Work in Progress (Femme Fatale), progressed once again. Home improvements, garage projects and yard-work became, if not enjoyable distractions, at least better distractions than watching a river of effluent flow through the broken sewer pipe that is the state of the world, as reported by CNN, Fox News and the CBC.
I will not look back upon 2020 with fondness. I will never say, “It wasn’t that bad.” The months of March, April, May and June were the longest four decades I’ve ever experienced and one thing is abundantly clear: the year is not going to improve. In fact, if we believe the speculation written in both national newspapers by people smarter than myself, Justin will further jeopardize Canada’s future standard-of-living by borrowing and giving away even more money, accumulating as much as a trillion dollars’ worth of debt.
The presidential election will not re-elevate the United States standing in the world, no matter which candidate wins. If the results are close, the level of diatribe will quickly reach levels we haven’t yet seen.
The media will continue to incite nervousness and sometimes outright panic by highlighting every negative Covid fact, no matter how trivial, insignificant or inaccurate.
No, 2020 is not going to improve, not by a long shot…
…it seems with acceptance comes the ability to get on with things. Masks, hand sanitizer and physical distancing are part of life now and if these measures (and all the others), can get small parts of the world moving in the right direction again, I’m all for them. As bad as they are, they’re better than the angry, four months I experienced earlier in the year.