2020 Year in Review Edition:
What’s a New Year dawning without a year in review, amiright? I’ve been watching a lot of Neil deGrasse Tyson lately (it’s been one of my deep rabbit holes that often happen on vacation…and also most days) and he was talking about the somewhat arbitrary nature of our calendar. It’s been historically disputed, negotiated, and finally just put into place by Pope Gregory because people wanted to get a handle on time. They knew there was a pattern to daylight and intellectually wanted to understand why the old calendar kept seemingly losing time…and thus, the Gregorian Calendar, on which we non-witches base most of modern life, was born.
But it could’ve been another way….
And it’s in this spirit, that I engage here in the time honored tradition of reviewing the year that was—one whole revolution around our Sun—in its best and worst. Many give you a Top 10; I am bargain, like Marc’s or Aldi, and thus I give you 5 of each the Best and Worst from my vantage point here in middle-aged ennui. Today’s list is Best of…Tomorrow’s….worst of…got it?
Best Of 2020: KP Edition
1. Realizing what a Work/Life Balance can actually Look Like
Sure, COVID-19 is a raging, deadly pandemic—definitely not good. But, like flowers blooming at Chernobyl, all that has transpired in its wake has not been awful. The greatest gift of this year has been the restructuring of my life. Is this a privileged perspective? Yes. Am I greatly materially affected by this virus? No. Thank God. But this is the first time that I’ve had true freedom to schedule meetings at times that make sense, do work comfortably dressed and with my own food and dog at home, and be able to choose how to spend intermittent downtime during the day. Though it’s been inside, the quality of my life has never been better. I know this isn’t true for all but for me, it’s been essential.
2. Cleaning house.
No, of course not literally. But since life has been, as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air says, “flipped turned upside down,” I got a huge chance to re-prioritize and reassess…and start to get rid of what I don’t need. Honestly, I haven’t missed drinking at bars, choir practice, an 8am alarm clock, the daily commute, jeans, counting macros, and a bunch of other stuff that used to be key points in my day. Some were circumstantial and some were choices…all are gone for now. I cleaned out my Instagram, completely divorced myself from the cesspool that is Facebook, and have started a practice of not re-hashing and regretting choices or circumstances of the past. I’be essentially been molting for 10 months and I’m better for it, I know.
3. Streaming Television
Already a tv junkie, this year’s shift toward better original programming on major streaming platforms, new and hefty streaming platforms, and more time to veg just made streaming tv my greatest of joys. Notable shoutouts include: Hamilton released on Disney+ for July 4th, HBO Max and its trove of great originals (and subsequently all of the Warner Media catalog—Hi West Wing!), and Conan O’Brien’s archive of Clueless Gamer episodes, along with YouTube have made my entire year.
4. Yoga Pants
I’m a casual dresser by trade but I’ve always dreamed of being able to work in the most comfortable clothes known to man: black yoga pants. And my dream came true…to the point that I’m very concerned about even putting on any other kind of pants anymore. I’m just going to drink in the moment and not think about buttons, clasps, zippers, or any other enclosure until I absolutely have to.
5. American Democracy Prevails
I’ve thought *a lot* about politics this past year. Specifically, I’ve lived in fear of Episode 2 of the Fall of the Roman Empire: America Burns. I deem it a warranted fear based on what we’ve watched with the current “Our Brand is Chaos” band of troubadours that have taken over the White House and probably shit on the carpets. Given such hell-bent intention to call dictatorship “democracy+,” and my firm belief in Aaron Sorkin’s “democracy…you got to want it bad” speech from The American President, I was starting to feel that sweet lifeblood draining from the reflecting pool of our shared way of life. But good goddamn, what held up through all of the storm that was 2020 was the process…the institution…the ideals…of democracy, even when a huge swath of our country, including most of the Senate, doesn’t deserve it or really believe it in. It’s a triumph of an ideal. And I live for those.
I also think it’s a triumph that isn’t partisan. Even though Trump’s party obviously don’t understanding the “losing” side of the win/lose compromise of competition, it doesn’t matter…because of system ushers the process along. It stands up to stupidity. It stands up to obvious attempts to break it. I’ve never been more impressed or convinced in the importance of agreed upon rules of play…and I already love those. They are the fabric of shared life. I’m glad to see they continue to work under heavy challenge. They are a miner’s canary, really, for the values that undergird them. As long as they stand, we have a country to work with.
So…there it is…Top 5 of 2020. I think we can all agree their rag-tag nature perfectly conveys what a screwed up year this was…but I have to believe, in the end, for the better. Except for the 300k people killed by the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic by our government. It was not an awesome banner year for them…or us, on their behalf.