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Hindsight is 2020

We haven't done one of these in a while, but the title pun was too good to miss.

We're gonna excavate these selfies like an archaeologist excavates a particularly bountiful layer of loam.

Given that the keyword for 2020 is "Unprecedented", one of the striking things about a lot of these is how ordinary they are. Like, in 2020 I moved house –

sitting on my delivered couch boxes as if they are a couch

– and started a new job, at the same place as my old job, let's not unpack that one too much –

awkwardly grimacing at my new desk

– and drank a respectable amount of craft beer –

with my dad and brother at the craft beer festival

– and ate a respectable amount of brunch.

having a wholesome brunch with the boys

But we did some pretty extraordinary stuff too. I went to my first protest –

at a climate protest, with Liberty, wearing a shirt that says "the seas are rising and so are we".

– and sat in a fire truck –

grinning like an idiot at being allowed to wear the fireman helmet

– and drank choc milk purchased from a primary school canteen, let's not unpack that one too much either –

four grown adults acting like children in a primary school carpark because they are holding tiny milk bottles which were indeed intended for children

– and climbed Jacob's Ladder entirely by accident with a backpack full of camera gear –

grinning, sweating, holding a tripod. Rose is in the background and is considerably less amused.

– and saw the movie people have been joking at me my whole life about

Doin' a thumbs up in front of a cinema poster for the film "Rocky"

– and kinda sorta got engaged –

rocky and grace looking at an engagement ring on grace's finger like it somehow just appeared there by magic

– and kinda sorta booked a honeymoon before organising a wedding which eventually got postponed but we went on the honeymoon anyway because why not.

Rocky and Grace with wine glasses against some extremely red rocks and an extremely blue sky

And then, in the middle of it all, are the weird ones. Carting office supplies home –

dragging a cart full of computer stuff across a carpark

– and working from trestle tables –

sitting exasperatedly at a trestle table with a laptop on it and a large cat in the way

– and doing innocuous–seeming things like getting off the train at the office but which, in context, were a bit of a 'whoa' moment.

standing at city west station in perth, outside the work premises

Look, I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think the thing that rattled me the most about 2020 was the unpredictability. What I thought I knew about the future, and my own ability to predict it, was rapidly and unflinchingly corrected, and as the possibility space frayed outwards, the planning horizon ratcheted inwards. Never mind planning your next five years – you were really lucky to be able to plan your next five weeks.

Here's the thing though kids – Nothing was ever predictable to begin with. Obviously, since there's no way I could have predicted any of this – not just the pandemic stuff. Now though, the illusion has been comprehensively obliterated, and in hindsight, the uncertainty about when, if ever, it was going to be over and what would come next was really worse than being locked inside and not being allowed to go to the pub.

Which is not a thing I should've been blindsided by, because obviously the cosmos is a vast, deep chaos, and obviously our level of control of that outside of a very limited sphere is an illusion. That's, like, the closest your common or garden space nerd gets to a religious tenet. And maybe somewhere along the line I got a little too attached to the idea trying to plan my life ahead of time and in a privileged bubble.

So as 2021 enfolds us and things appear, at least, to return to normality – whatever that means – I'm gonna try to hang on to a little bit of that perspective again, and maybe even enjoy a little bit of that unpredictability. Luckily, I won't be doing it alone. ♥

rocky, grace and harriet (the cat) on a balcony on a cold, locked-down may evening

(No, "Yolo" is absolutely not the correct lesson to take from 2020, but it's thematically appropriate and on brand so we're gonna roll with it.)

Happy new year, folks.

 your hand in mine

04 January 2021, 10:23PM · #life

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