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Thread: Looking Past 2020

  1. #1
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    Default Looking Past 2020

    Well, it’s the end of a truly shit year. While we know that the arbitrary passage of time into 2021 isn’t going to break some kind of curse or magically change our situations for the better, there are certainly some lights at the end of the tunnel.

    So, what were the best and worst parts of the year for you? What big stuff went down?

    And what are you looking forward to in 2021?

    I’ll start us off:

    Worst things: My mom getting COVID (she’s STILL not really well...),
    *being unable to see family or my best friend,
    *getting sick and having some complications after minor surgery,
    *and my cockatiel getting a Clostridium infection and almost dying from it when we couldn’t get the emergency vet to take it seriously and do proper basic testing.
    * STILL not being done with my orthodontic aligners!

    I really can’t complain too much since most of these things are okay now, or will be.

    Best things: Aside from my mom, my other close family and friends staying safe.
    *Eloping! With my twin sister, too - so now we have the same anniversary, haha.
    * Turning 30... I guess this is good?!?! I am not sure. I guess the good part is not feeling old! On the day I eloped, a cashier was excited that a “young person” liked her music, and then guessed that I am 19... haha.
    * Actually having the minor surgery. Pretty intense, but it’s something I am grateful for. I even managed to save up money for it.
    * Saving up money! Between art commissions, selling off things I didn’t need, and starting to turn my bone collecting into a profitable hobby, I had some luck tucking money away this year.
    * Have kept up pretty well with exercising regularly, meditating, and reading.
    * My vermiculture bin is up and going again, and it seems to be thriving this time.
    * Work went well this year and I’m set up for work next year.

    Things to hope for and look forward to in 2021:
    * Vaccine. Big one. I’ll unclench significantly when my dad gets it. And the relief will also be big whenever I’m able to get it with my partner.
    * Hopefully... maybe... starting to go out places again? I agree with Dr. Fauci that a beer and burger in a nice pub sounds perfect. I do worry that my anxiety will be difficult to overcome after all this. Going out places feels like DANGER ACTIVITY now... (well, more than it used to. And more justified.)
    * If all goes well, getting to see The Lion King stage play late next year. It got delayed.
    * Hopefully work going well!
    * Definitely want to keep up with staying in shape. I’m considering getting a weighted vest or something.
    * I want to do more geocaching!
    * Late in the summer, my brother in law will be done with his internship thing and they will be looking to move again. I am hoping beyond hope they can move near us.
    * Would really like my best friend to move out here as well, as he’s been talking about doing. Not super optimistic about this one, but one can dream.

    I guess a lot of my goals are “keep on keeping on.” How about you?

  2. #2

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    I think I am literally like one week older than you. Getting old! As long as one's health is good, there is nothing for me to complain about.

    -Got a union job, got infected with Coronavirus on the job, worksite closed.
    -Read a shitload of books
    -Got in the habit of exercising

    Pretty boring year. Normally I like to try to take some time to travel and leave the state, but that wasn't possible this year. Everything was closed, so there was no point in leaving. I never really stopped going out and doing things locally other than in the two month lockdown window. From my perspective, there was no point in having any anxiety over the virus. Workplace situation is so shit that one would just probably get it there anyway, I did. There is no option but to work, and for the average person, that means working in a high-risk position with lots of physical contact with people. I personally don't know anyone who had anxiety over going out or getting the virus, for that reason. For most working class people, our lives are continually on a razor's edge. Most live hand to mouth as it is. A single unfortunate medical problem can ruin a life overnight, I know people where it has. People with full time jobs who have insurance, but where the expense is just so high anyway that it ruins them. The coronavirus is a lot like that. It's not a natural catastrophe, there was a choice that almost everything continue on as normal, which necessitates working in close contact with people.

    For me at least, it's not indifference. I'm mad as hell. I just saw no reason to be anxious when there is just no choice at all in the first place. Sure, you can choose whether you're going to go out to get a drink or not(or whatever whimsical thing it is), but in a broader context where you have to go to work and be around people all day, it's not much of a significant difference. You may as well do both if you are forced to expose yourself by doing one. That's how most people see it, I think. I don't think the pandemic can be reduced to a question of lifestyle and individual responsibility. It's a question of political leadership. China decided on harsh, full lockdowns and full cessation of commercial activities on vast regional levels, and it seems to have worked. Even if we accept that China's numbers have probably been systematically doctored, the reality is that they've still done a pretty good job of containing it compared to anyone else. But that's too much of a tangent.

    I'll probably get the vaccine when it's available. Hopefully it's safe. The normal process of a medication getting FDA approval is 15-20 years. The expedited process is 8-10 years. It probably is mostly safe, but it could have minor, long term repercussions for some people.

    It's looking like I already have a new union job lined up, so 2021 should be fine.

    I don't read much fiction, but I think I should see if I can read the rest of Dostoevsky and get into Tolstoy this coming year. It's really remarkable how much of a parallel there is between 19th century Russia and 21st century America. It still strikes as being very timely.

    Not really too many specific goals. It feels like just having made it from one year to the next in a state of financial stability and physical and mental health is achievement enough. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. If things open up more in 2021 I might venture into the city more and see if I can get involved in anything. It gets boring here in the country.
    "The first volume of the present publication has the aim of uncloaking these sheep, who take themselves and are taken for wolves; of showing how their bleating merely imitates in a philosophic form the conceptions of the German middle class; how the boasting of these philosophic commentators only mirrors the wretchedness of the real condition.." -Marx, The German Ideology

  3. #3
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    From my perspective, there was no point in having any anxiety over the virus. Workplace situation is so shit that one would just probably get it there anyway, I did. There is no option but to work, and for the average person, that means working in a high-risk position with lots of physical contact with people. I personally don't know anyone who had anxiety over going out or getting the virus, for that reason
    Anxiety doesn’t really have a “point,” it’s an involuntary response to threat. Working in a high-risk position would absolutely give many people anxiety, and the lack of option NOT to work would tend to make that worse. I’m glad you were able to not feel anxious despite the risk. I’m sure having probable immunity fairly early on helps. I went about work and life despite the anxiety, but it didn’t go away just because I still had to do those things.

    I personally don't know anyone who had anxiety over going out or getting the virus, for that reason. For most working class people, our lives are continually on a razor's edge. Most live hand to mouth as it is. A single unfortunate medical problem can ruin a life overnight, I know people where it has. People with full time jobs who have insurance, but where the expense is just so high anyway that it ruins them. The coronavirus is a lot like that. It's not a natural catastrophe, there was a choice that almost everything continue on as normal
    Yeah, I relate a lot to living hand-to-mouth. My job doesn’t have any benefits, and we’re a small enough team that there’s really no one to fill in if you get sick. A medical problem would just mean being out the money (and, often times, maybe the whole job if you’re not going to be back asap, because they might have to hire a replacement just to keep the work going). It sucks. At least I wasn’t being exposed to the public, but I had to work in close quarters with my team sometimes, and through long hours of driving.

    Sure, you can choose whether you're going to go out to get a drink or not(or whatever whimsical thing it is), but in a broader context where you have to go to work and be around people all day, it's not much of a significant difference. You may as well do both if you are forced to expose yourself by doing one. That's how most people see it, I think.
    This logic doesn’t follow, that because one has to be exposed at work, one should not worry about further exposure. Seems like a sunk-cost fallacy - “oh well, I’m being exposed already, may as well go about like normal.” On a personal level, as well, it may seem like an insignificant increase in exposure, but on a community level, that kind of behavior can make a dramatic impact.

    I don't think the pandemic can be reduced to a question of lifestyle and individual responsibility. It's a question of political leadership.
    It’s both. We’d be a hell of a lot better off if we’d had competent leadership, and I’m livid we haven’t. But what ultimately makes a difference on the ground is the behavior of the individuals. In other words, even lacking the leadership to do so, we can make at least some of the decisions that ultimately limit the spread of contagions. Even if we had good leadership, we’d still have to make those choices. And without it, we are still better off the more people decide to be conscientious when they can. It really sucks that we haven’t had actual help, though - people being forced to continue to work and not having financial help or rent/mortgage breaks... it’s been a really evil mess. We’ve seen how actually taking care of people worked well for other countries and yet...

    It just plain sucks.

    Doing things like staying home when not working, or foregoing outings is a good way to make sure one isn’t personally contributing to the spread while presymptomatic, though. It’s not all about our *personal* level of exposure, but how many people we could potentially be exposing to infection.

    I'll probably get the vaccine when it's available. Hopefully it's safe. The normal process of a medication getting FDA approval is 15-20 years. The expedited process is 8-10 years. It probably is mostly safe, but it could have minor, long term repercussions for some people.
    Probably will. A lot of the shortening of the approval of the vaccine is because of fast-tracking the red tape and paperwork along the way that often slows things down, but yeah, the speed of it is a little freaky. There’s always some risk with vaccines. Long-term repercussions of having the virus seem to be a lot more statistically likely given how prevalent brain, lung, and heart damage seems to be in people who’ve recovered. It worries me to take a brand new fast-tracked vaccine, the risk of long term damage from the virus seems more likely and worse. That kind of damage would be really bad for me particularly with my work. Statistically, the risk of vaccine complications is probably going to be drastically lower for everybody.
    Last edited by Kisota; January 2nd, 2021 at 01:28 PM.

  4. #4
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    Highlights of my year:

    1. I haven't gotten promoted yet, but I found out that I probably will be late in the year. I'm counting it.
    2. Ran a well-liked plot on the roleplaying site I'm part of. I hope to run more, and it's a good sign that the first one went well.
    3. Webcomic I read (Sword Interval) finished and the finale was pretty badass.
    4. Read a lot of cool books. Ministry of the Future, Turning Darkness Into Light, and The Barrow Will Send What It May were probably my favorites as far as new fiction goes. I think I might've read The Secret Commonwealth in early 2020, but I'm not certain and it, while good, wasn't quite as great as I'd thought it would be, so I'm not counting that one.
    5. Restarted my house plant collection. Of course, they haven't flowered because the cats chewed on them, but they're alive (except for the basil, but I think that one just didn't get enough sun). And now they're all put where the cats will have a much harder time getting to them.
    6. Most of the butterfly plants we planted last year came up really well this year. The transplanted boneset was the single one that didn't; while it did come up it wilted and died before flowering. I'm not sure why, since it only started once it hit a few feet. Might have been drought, though it did really well along the back fence and the soil there isn't that much wetter. Might have been a disease.
    7. Related to point six, I saw lots and lots of... well, just life this year. There were owls in the neighborhood; I saw plenty of monarch caterpillars and milkweed beetles and bugs. There were lots of praying mantids. It's nice to see that.

    Worst things... honestly, mostly it's just being stuck in a really boring job and difficulties finding another one. You know, the usual, "You're a wonderfully competitive applicant but we have decided not to hire you." Also, due to past bad choices my family's garden has chameleon plant, and it has gotten everywhere over the years. We tried to kill lots of it this year, and did succeed some, but it's become clear beating it back isn't going to be easy.

    I want that plant dead.

    Far as my goals for next year? I want to start up writing again, but I want that every year and I don't do it, so my hopes aren't exactly high. My main goal is to get into grad school and also get out of the job I'm in--it will be more interesting if I'm promoted, but I will still mostly be cooped up inside. Much as I hate winter weather, I'd take hiking in the snow for hours a day over staring at a screen waiting to see if I get an email for six hours.
    "If you are worthy of his affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave. He keeps his free will though he loves, and will not do for you what he thinks unreasonable; but if he once gives himself to you, it is with absolute confidence and fidelity of affection." -Theophile Gautier

  5. #5
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    I envy you your outdoor garden, Cheetah!! Every year I tell myself maybe I should invest in more pots and grow herbs on my balcony, but I never do - I’m gone hither and thither throughout a large part of the summer and I already feel guilty making my partner tend the birds, houseplants, worm bin, and my sourdough culture while I’m gone. Adding a whole host of herbs outside that might need even more frequent watering seems... like a lot. I really don’t like taking on tasks that will likely become primarily someone else’s problem.

    But... someday. I’m about out of indoor space for plants. My pothos, spider plant, and Croton are all about to blow out of their pots... they ALL need to be upgraded, and the Pothos is probably going to require a hanging pot, because anything larger won’t fit on the sill.

    I am *especially* envious of your insect spotting!! I only saw a few mantids this year.

    I hope you get your promotion and things improve. I think this year is likely to be more of the same. I kind of had to choose between two different positions this year. I’m really hoping maybe some other possibilities will open up, because as much as I like my job, my goals are still a bit broader than what I’m currently doing.

    I really feel your job-search pain though. Those messages are VERY familiar. I think just about everyone in our field feels that. I have folders and folders of all my yearly (or even more frequent) searches for more field positions. Hundreds of applications.

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