Business Musings: 2021 (A Process Blog)
Unless things go horribly wrong in the next two days—and this being 2020, that’s entirely possible—we will make it to 2021. As my Pearls Before Swine Day-To-Day Calendar reminded me this week, the change of year is an arbitrary construction that we imbue with great meaning.
I looked at that cartoon and thought, I don’t fucking care. I can’t wait until 2021 gets here.
Once that happens, of course, I’ll be waiting for the final election of this cycle, and then inauguration day, and some personal milestones that will come in January, and the annual countdown of things to look forward to begins. Again.
Like any normal year, only not.
Because mixed in that is the as-yet unknown day when I’ll get my first vaccine, and then the day that will occur either 21 or 28 days later when I get my second vaccine. And maybe, just maybe, there will be a day in 2021 when someone will declare Nevada or the U.S. Covid-free, a day in which we won’t have to approach our neighbors with trepidation, a day when I don’t have to remind someone who tries to get on our building’s elevator that “Hey, if you’re getting on this, you’ll need a mask.”
The things that I’m hoping for in 2021 are very different from the things I hoped for on the way into 2020. Which, for the record, I knew was going to be a difficult year. I just never imagined how difficult.
I also knew that our lives needed to change, that we needed to chuck the world that the World War II generation built, because it’s no longer relevant.
It had some good things, things I remember with nostalgia. But it was also misogynistic and racist and very rich-white-guy centric. Those rich white guys believed they knew how the rest of us needed to live, if they saw us at all. Those who didn’t count—generally people of color or from the LGBTQ+ community or poor people or people who didn’t go to the right schools or had some physical handicap or, or, or—well, they could be ignored—and usually were.
But I kept watching as bits and pieces of that world floated away, and the rest of it remained, held tightly in the grip of the people it hurt the most.
I saw that just this morning on my Twitter feed, as a new(ish) traditional writer with mostly media tie-in credentials, sniffed loudly at the advice I offer on this blog, dismissing it as something written by a “self-published” writer because he didn’t want the message to go in. He didn’t want to contemplate the things I mentioned as something that could apply to him.
And he’s precisely the kind of traditionally published writer I wish would listen. He’s published a few books, one critically acclaimed, and several tie-in novels (for which he is being paid 1/10th what I got paid for the same kind of novels years ago).
I didn’t respond, even though he clearly wanted me to. I used to, ten years ago, when writers dismissed me as someone who had no “real” publishing experience. Sadly, those writers—to a person—no longer have careers.
This guy won’t either, if he keeps on this path. Okay, that’s not fair. He’ll have a career—it just won’t be in publishing. Or maybe he’ll manage a book every few years, for which he’ll get paid pennies. And that’s all.
Such writers no longer make me feel sad. I know what’s coming for them. I blogged about it for a goodly portion of 2020, and next week (unless there’s major news), I’ll have more on my review of 2020. (If you want to read all of the posts, go to my Patreon page.)
That review of 2020 marks the end of my look at 2020. I’m done with this damn year. Come 12:01 on January 1, 2021, I’ll put my 2020 calendars away, and step into the new year.
Yes, the New Year is a construct that we have imbued with hope. So what? Sometimes we need as much hope as we can get.
As you review 2020, look at what you’ve accomplished in this unbelievably tough year. Any accomplishment is worth noting. Make a list of what you have completed.
If you can’t stand to look back—and believe me, I get that—then find one thing to look forward to in 2021. Some of you will find many things, but some of you, who’ve had experienced a year from hell inside the year from hell, might find it hard to look forward at all.
Just take it one day at a time. One project at a time. One dream at a time. Eventually, you’ll wonder how you made it through this dark season, because it’ll be a distant memory. As a friend of mine said on his Facebook page, one day, you’ll put on a coat, reach in the pocket and find a mask. What a strange time that was, you’ll think, as you put the mask away.
Right now, though, as we stand on the precipice of a new year, one that will see the destruction wrought in 2020 turn into real and lasting change, I wanted to acknowledge something.
If you are reading this, you have survived the most difficult year in our (collective) lifetimes. You’ve managed to find your way through the days, live your life, educate your children, take care of your loved ones, and continue writing and publishing and dreaming.
By writing and publishing and dreaming, you have acted courageously. Believing in the future is always a courageous act in any year. Believing in the future in this year, well, that’s particularly courageous. You’ve looked beyond the death and destruction, and continued to hope for a better world.
We have a lot of grieving to do. We have a lot of repair to start. We need to be kind to our fellow humans. We also need to donate, if we can, to food banks and other charities, because as hard as this year has been on all of us, it has been particularly cruel to many of us.
But we can do all of that as we take care of ourselves. As we take small steps toward a future that we all believe (or maybe just hope) will be brighter than the present we’re living in.
There’s a vaccine on the horizon. There are parties to go to and concerts to hear and theater to see. There’s a lot of living ahead, provided we continue to mask up, stay socially distant right now, and stick to our own family units.
If we do those things, we’ll get out of this mess earlier in 2021 than we would if we don’t.
I do have one other thing to say:
Thank you. Thank you for reading these posts. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for sharing them. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for supporting the blog with your donations. Thank you for sending me articles and comments and your thoughts.
Thank you for being there through this tough year.
You made it easier to survive 2020.
And for that, you have my gratitude—always.
“Business Musings: Title,” copyright © 2020 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © Can Stock Photo / orkidia.