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January 25, 2021

New Eras, New Errors

 

Turning point. You graduate from high school and then what? You move to a new town, a new job, a new lover ... some people still make resolutions at the beginning of every new year. You might succeed, probably not. But you never know the future. This new year began on January 20, 2021. The resolutions make themselves.

I called 2020, back in innocent 2019, "The Year Everything Changes." I'm too psychic for my own good. Wow, what a year full of death and stress and privation and fear! In Sicily, we're still in lockdown after 11 months. Yet, now we have Uncle Joe* and Kamala who will set some things right, already getting it done. I imagine they're swamped with advice from 330 million people all at once. Mine: be sure to get military firearms out of civilian hands and please change the national anthem to 'America the Beautiful'. Okay, I'll settle for one of the above. And climate action.

I've nicknamed 2021, "The Year I Change," and I don't know what that means so I'm going to explore and discover. For one thing I can stop following American politics obsessively. We signed up for the Resistance, mostly online and made of truth, and now we've won. White supremacy is not defeated but we can ignore it again (let the authorities deal with it), and together rebuild our multicultural world. Yes! Everyone holding hands and singing Kum Ba Yah! Yes! So I plan to be a much less regular presence on social media for starters. Then what, what to do with a couple hours a day liberated, maybe read books again? Play my old gourd banjo? Enjoy exercise?

This past year of quarantine, my relationships were all tossed up in the air like when, you know, a tornado rips through your house. I've neglected just about everyone: out of sight, out of mind. I don't know what or why, but it seemed like I was a turtle drawing into my shell to avoid all dangers, real and imaginary. Self-preservation for me, oddly, meant extra isolation. It's easy to phone, but I don't. Talk? No thanks. I want a Nordic winter. My exasperated neurosis.

Soon as we're immune, it's time to shake off my self-preservation instinct and rejoin the human race. To interact, touch and be touched. Then some summer I can safely return to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest alone and unafraid. But first, vaccinations. I try not to fixate on the old normalcy, going backward, because I know that from now on we must go forward solving new problems, slaying dragons. The damage to Mother Earth that we've done and are doing is not going to fix itself. Even in our weakness, we better be strong and ready for the next virus and the next rise of fascism and whatever else we get slapped with.

This year has been the hardest ever. Most days I feel like I can get my daily business done and then I break down like an old car. If that's the new way, so be it. At least, we beat the Nazis again.

Anyone want to make 2021 a year of personal growth along with me? No? Whatever.

Stay safe and warm,

Martin

* my president

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