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 –
– and started a new job, at the same place as my old job, let's not unpack that one too much –
– and drank a respectable amount of craft beer –
– and ate a respectable amount of brunch.
But we did some pretty extraordinary stuff too. I went to my first protest –
– and sat in a fire truck –
– and drank choc milk purchased from a primary school canteen, let's not unpack that one too much either –
– and climbed Jacob's Ladder entirely by accident with a backpack full of camera gear –
– and saw the movie people have been joking at me my whole life about –
– and kinda sorta got engaged –
– and kinda sorta booked a honeymoon before organising a wedding which eventually got postponed but we went on the honeymoon anyway because why not.
And then, in the middle of it all, are the weird ones. Carting office supplies home –
– and working from trestle tables –
– and doing innocuous–seeming things like getting off the train at the office but which, in context, were a bit of a 'whoa' moment.
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. ♥
(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