2020 Year in Review

So many potential themes for writing about the year that was, even for my personal experience in 2020, seem to restate unnecessarily. I think most people are sick of this year to a degree that even the weariness is a cliché.

The best I can do may be that “I was oddly well prepared for this year’s disruptions and have managed relatively well, personally.”

Materially, my professional work expanded at least a bit compared to 2019 (at the same time as various expenses fell way off). I have already worked from home for years, as a freelancer, primarily interacting with clients via telecommunications.

More generally, I seem to have been well suited by disposition and habit to deal with distancing. I have lived alone for 19 years. I empathize with people this has been harder on; it’s mostly chance that it has been relatively easy for me.

In real ways this year has been kind of a throwback to five or six years ago. Before the grassroots activism and political campaigns and subsequent social ties which came to draw me out so often—to in person meetings, to big gatherings, to knocking on doors, to convivial drink meetups—life was a lot of being home all the time and rarely going anywhere besides the store. Switching back to a similar lifestyle has not exactly been a joy but it has not been an ordeal either.

In some ways it has been a relief, particularly as I just didn’t really have the energy for the full “okay the critical time is here everybody into the pool let’s gooooooo” mass freakout which is a presidential election year. I did go out and do some lit drops—even helped create one grassroots GOTV campaign—and wrote letters e.g. but I was fairly content this fall to let others go nuts with texts and phone banks and shit of dubious effectiveness and to give canvassing a miss entirely for a year.

This year feels like a cycle coming to a close, and a time to reevaluate and start moving on, for any of us who can break the force of habit. No denying that’s difficult.

I still intend to post thoughts on “The Resistance” after January 21, but my thoughts so far are that there is very little success to celebrate. I can agree with Ben Wikler that “When democracies slide down the path of autocracy, the ascendance of a strongman often turn[s] out to be the point of no return” and in that sense defeating Trump via the ballot box at the first opportunity represents an accomplishment. But it seems like at best a pause on the path, only, rather than a reversal or reorientation. As I have been writing here ad nauseam.

There’s such a sameness to so much of my personal experience this year—since the national “oh fuck” moment around March 12.

Before that, I look back at photos of events from an entirely separate lifetime:

  • Packed City Hall auditorium for Mayor George’s swearing-in on Jan. 1
  • The ridiculous, entirely pointless and fun Ohio Caucus on Jan. 7; I was in Sandusky thanks to gerrymandering
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Bully of Baker Street free play at Lakewood Library, Feb. 16
  • Promoting clean energy in Market Square on Feb. 20
  • Primary campaign night at the Lakewood Democratic Club on Feb. 27, just a couple of weeks before everything began changing and mere days before the 2020 primary basically ended on Super Tuesday

I’m definitely still bitter and resentful over all the garbage treatment of Elizabeth Warren from so many directions, although I have also kind of concluded that none of it really mattered because Democrats always nominate former VPs.

Something-something the friends we made along the way.

Anyway. It genuinely feels like an accomplishment that I have made it this far without getting COVID-19. Unfortunately there is still a good deal farther to go before I can get a vaccine and hope that will protect me from this mutating nightmare.

Wrapping this up seems even more baffling than opening it, perhaps because in so many ways we aren’t even done with this year yet.

Apropos of nothing in particular, then, the furthest from home that I traveled all this year was a somewhat accidental visit to Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve. That was really cool. Over and out.

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