Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A farewell to 2021

So it's December and Christmas is Any Day Now and that means that somehow 2021 is nearly over and I'm sitting here in the Designated Writing Closet and wondering: where the hell did it go? 2020 was this horrible, slogging, torturous grind that almost culminated in a full-on fascist coup. 2021 was supposed to kind of ease back from that, give us a small chance to regroup and maybe start to repair some of the horror and mistakes and stupidities that were done. 

And maybe some of that did happen. 


But holy hell, it feels like 2021 just went by in a blur and nothing much has changed. There was a push early on to get everybody vaccinated, and even some progress, but then Delta and now Omicron appeared and it looks like our deliberate stalling has pushed us past the point of being able to really get rid of this thing. Meanwhile, our politicians and especially the Republicans are studiously pretending -- still -- that there isn't a global pandemic going on, except when they switch to pointing out that there is and it's President Biden's fault. The schools are open more or less by mandate, a fact mitigated only slightly by the fact that vaccines are now available to everyone five and older; ditto restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts...

It will be... interesting [read: infuriating] to see if the spread of Omicron changes that at all. 

Climate Change is in much the same situation: we're confronted with example after example of just how bad it is and just how much worse it's going to get, and we're well past the point where if we'd acted seriously we could have avoided the worst of it... and yet we're still not doing anything about it. Oh, a lot of individuals and families are; but that's like trying to fend off an iceberg with a blow-dryer. We need large-scale structural changes, the kind of things that affect whole countries and industries, and every time someone tries to even look at doing that the Powers That Be immediately move to block and discredit them. 

Meanwhile, the would-be fascist coup is still ongoing and very well might still succeed; the Republican party has clearly decided that the best way to run a democracy is to prevent anyone who might disagree with them from voting. They'll do it legally if they can, but they'll do it either way. The anti-vaxxers and QAnon true believers and Big Lie promoters are all still out there doing their thing, and maybe even getting more virulent; I'm seeing more and more reports of the QAnon types assaulting hospital personnel for using actual medical procedures instead of snake oil. Some of the folks who besieged the capital back on January 6th (with the apparent intention of hanging the vice president and probably Nancy Pelosi and some others as well as trying to overturn the results of the election) have been arrested and some have even been given jail time, but the ones who were leading the attempted coup right out there in the open? Nothing but the distant chirping of crickets. And police reform of any kind? Dead in the water.

On a personal note, as I've said a couple of times already, 2021 feels as if it looked at 2020 and said, "Well, that was a good series of unrelenting disasters, but what if we tried it again and this time we made it personal?" I think we might be through the worst of that, but I'm afraid to say so; might be tempting fate, after all. And I sure as hell don't want to give 2022 any ideas.


Also from a personal perspective, so much of what I intended to get done in 2021 just... didn't happen. Write a book? I now have three pages and a really excellent outline, but it feels like it just got shoved aside by everything else that was happening. Finishing [Project A] and [Project B] at work? Sidelined by a weird combination of Other Projects and weird technical difficulties that I haven't really had the time or energy to properly troubleshoot, in no small part because of Other Projects. Career advancement? There's a joke. I have managed a few things -- I started studying Spanish and German again -- but they don't feel like much.

2021 feels like it just went by in a sort of horrible blur because I've just spent most of the year being overwhelmed by thing after thing after thing. And yeah, I say that knowing full well that things could have gone a lot worse for us in a lot of different ways, because that doesn't really change anything. It's still been pretty horrible, and there's a particular sort of exhaustion that comes from having dealt with this shit for two years now, if not longer.

Goodbye, 2021. Good riddance. May 2022 break the cycle, even if it's just a matter of small steps in the right direction. And you, my lovely friends: take good care of yourselves, and take good care of each other. It's the only way through.

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