One thing I’ve noticed in my nearly seven decades of life: some years are good and some are bad. So we have the good, the bad, and I will characterize 2020 as the ugly.
It seemed that as a nation we ran out of our good juju. Negativity spread like lava from a gigantic volcano. If you avoided the lava, you couldn’t help but choke on the ash.
I’ve seen images that I never thought I’d see in this country, especially in times of peace: empty store shelves, shortages, people waiting in line for food, thousands facing eviction, hospitals running out of beds, or going into a bank wearing a mask.
Who knew that living on a fixed income could be the best-case scenario? Along with not worrying about where the next paycheck was coming from, we had the option of staying home. With grocery pickup, Internet, and curbside service, it was easier for us to limit our risks.
This year was a time of self-discovery for me. I’ve gone back to my roots in many ways. When I was growing up, we lived in the hills twenty miles from nowhere. As Jim said the first time he went to my house, “You live so far back in the sticks they have to pipe in sunshine.”
During the summer, I could go weeks and not see anyone but family. “Going to town” was an event. We didn’t eat out; we ate in. New clothes and new shoes were bought when school started. My mom and dad both worked hard just to keep eight kids fed and clothed. We were poor, but so was everyone else. Times were hard and people were tough. We weren’t involved in a lot of activities because we lived far from town on a pot-holey gravel road.
I’ve spent more time at home this year than I have since I was a kid. Beginning in March a series of events were cancelled. Later, I decided to stop attending social functions. At first, it made me anxious, but I decided the most prudent move for me was to stay home. Now, I am so busy at home that I can’t imagine how I had time to do all the volunteer work. I’ve gone from being double or triple booked to going weeks without any social commitments.
I would say I enjoy the more leisurely pace except that I still have to make a date with myself to watch TV or read a book. I try to spend at least some time each day playing my ukulele, occasionally making a video. I prefer to sing silly songs to make people smile. Sadly, two of the videos I’ve made lately have been tributes to my sister-in-law Michelle, and more recently, my sister-in-law Dinah. Memorials are being delayed until springtime, but I wanted to do something now to help find some closure. I know that until we had Jim’s memorial service, I was suspended in time.
Our friends, family, and neighbors are hurting and they need our kindness. We need to heal relationships, show respect for each other even when we disagree, look out for each other, and pray for our world to righten itself. My hope is that God will guide science to end Alzheimer’s and this pandemic.
Be gone, 2020, we don’t want to see your ugly face again! We are ready to flip the calendar and do “overs” with 2021. The optimist in me believes that the New Year will be a happy and healthy year, or at least happier and healthier than this one was.
Copyright © December 2020 by L.S. Fisher