This New Year's is a crock of poop.
Can we hold off on the celebrating until something actually changes?
I wasn’t planning to write something this week, because I don’t want to scare off those of you who have just subscribed, or set a precedent of writing weekly. But I just feel the need to vent.
I try to be an upbeat lady. I really do. In that spirit, I could write some kind of “counting my blessings” review of 2020, pointing out some of the many good things that actually came of this hellish year, in which I was, relatively speaking, insanely fortunate: family togetherness, more time outdoors, perspective, blah blah blah.
But that’s just not where I’m at.
Here’s what I’m really thinking about right now, in my dark little heart of hearts, on day 92 of Winter Break and day 4,621 of 2020, as people are talking about champagne toasts and “good-bye and good riddance to 2020” all over the internets.
NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE ON JANUARY 1, 2021.
Or February 1 or March 1, for that matter. So as much as I’d love to join in the “buh-bye 2020” celebratory thing, I’m just not feeling it. I’m sorry. (Anybody else??)
For the remainer of the winter and probably months after that, people are going to keep getting sick and keep dying in massive numbers. People will still be not working, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, not knowing when this thing is going to end.
We still won’t be able to mingle freely with our friends and family, or travel, or go to restaurants or concerts or meetings or parties. Our kids won’t be able to go to school full time (mine won’t, anyway). There will be no field trips, no dances, no school plays or concerts (OK, maybe that last ones’s not so bad…) I can’t go visit my newly widowed mother in Maine or spend a rainy Saturday afternoon in a movie theater or squeeze into a warmly lit, crowded bookstore to celebrate the launch of a friend’s book.
And yes, people are getting vaccinated, and that’s wonderful, and offers a sliver of hope. (LOVE seeing all those pics in my Facebook feed of people getting their shots). And yes, Donald Trump’s sorry, loser ass will be dragged out the door of the White House on January 20. (In fact, it would give me great pleasure to see him actually, physically dragged, which doesn’t seem unlikely at this point.) These are very good things. But they are the only good things coming in immediate weeks ahead that I know of.
Does anyone have something good happening in January? This year? Or ANY January, for that matter?
I’ve always maintained that January is an ass-backward time to celebrate the new year. It’s the longest, darkest, gloomiest, stupidest month in the northern hemisphere, and the fact that every year we celebrate its arrival and pretend it’s a fresh start has always felt to me like a mean joke. And resolutions? Dear God, who has the emotional energy to do something plucky and determined like lose weight or give up drinking or meditate every day starting in JANUARY??
I don’t know who the Gregorian a-hole was who piped up and suggested we start the new year in the dead of winter—while we’re still emotionally / literally hungover from the *actually* fun holidays, to boot—when we could just as easily have started it in March (like the English had apparently been doing until 1752, thank you Google) or September (which the Jews did and still wisely do), but I hope he died of something stupid and unpleasant, like a badly infected papercut. Parchment cut. Whatever.
And yes, I’ll drink some champagne and wear a little hat or blow a little horn or whatever with friends on Zoom tonight. I will do my best to muster up some serotonin and a sense of optimism and shout some “HOORAY, IT’S OVER!”s.
But I hereby declare that I’m not really going to celebrate the end of 2020 for at least another few months, when maybe it will actually start to feel like something new and better is within sight. Maybe I’ll do it on my birthday, in April. Or the spring Equinox, in March.
Hell, I’d even settle for February 12—the Chinese New Year. (Would that be cultural appropriation? If so, can I offer myself up to be voluntarily colonized by the Chinese—or their calendar, anyway—the same way Europe colonized the whole world with theirs? Because by mid February, with spring almost within view, I might actually be able to summon up something vaguely resembling jubilation or optimism or joy. )
I wish I could join the world in feeling a sense of relief at the end of 2020. I really, truly do. But I’m just not there yet. If you are: God bless. Happy New Year.
Excuse me while I go snort some Vitamin D.