2020 Reflections and Resolutions

It looks like 2021 may be a similar year to 2020. As if Covid 19 isn’t enough, now there are mutations of the virus, so we’re advised to continue hunkering down and leave our homes only when necessary. Government administrators in California have become our big brothers and sisters, insisting they know best how we should lead our lives, and ordering some businesses to close, justifying their directives with their interpretation of scientific facts and sticking their noses in our faces by ignoring their own advice. Employees who can continue to work remotely are doing so and still receiving a paycheck; others, have lost their jobs. Public schools are closed with parents going crazy because they have to take on the extra work of schooling their children. Masks have become a necessary clothing item and have led to a new direction for the fashion industry. The list of the effects of Covid 19 goes on and on.

Lockdowns have caused many of us to spend more time at home. For me, it’s easy because I’m retired and don’t have school-age children, and I’m not an extrovert needing constant association with others.  I love my house and my yard, and I can easily adapt to staying inside with my pets. Zoom has proved to be a novel and successful way to attend meetings. I actually prefer that form of interaction over the alternative, one reason being that I don’t have to bring food for the potluck. I can sit at my desk looking great from my chest up, and still wear the pajama bottoms I slept in.  I’ve invested in a treadmill, a stair stepper, and various assortments of bar bells and straps. By now, I would have paid that much in gym fees. Working out at home is easy. No need to join a gym anymore. My daughter is a personal trainer so I can get whatever advice I want (or don’t want) for free. Amazon and others deliver whatever I need. 

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that, except for family visits, I’m alone with myself. I can’t dilute my thoughts with jumping up and running out to shop, or meet friends, or buy groceries. Nor is TV a distraction since I’m not really a watcher. Books are a different story. I love to read mysteries, especially quality Scandinavian noir, and the chills I ecstatically suffer when I read about the woman walking home on the frozen pond who looks down and sees a body under the ice staring up at her.

But I can only read so much before it’s time to look in the mirror, to face up to the reality that more time has passed than will be coming. Am I content with my life? Is there anything to change going forward? The start of the new year is a good time to reflect because it’s a universal custom to make resolutions at this time. Yes, I want to lose that elusive 5 pounds, to publish more, and make my house and yard more comfortable, to spend more time with family, to read more mysteries, to dabble in photography, watercolor, and other crafts.

But I also want to look in the mirror.  If there is anyone important for me to understand, it’s got to be myself. Maybe I can imagine I’m writing a realistic autobiography of how I became the person I am. I believe it was the author Joan Dideon who said that writing about your past is like getting to know the stranger that was you so many years ago. I’m not the same person. I’ve changed because of the seventy plus years under my belt. I’ve seen loved ones die, experienced health issues, and so many dreams unrealized because of others and my own limitations. But all that is tempered by the joy of family and love, holding a baby, trips to Hawaii, friendships, and accomplishments, like starting a company, winning history research awards, publishing a novel, and short stories, and more than I could ever list here.

I asked my niece a few years back what her resolutions were for the forthcoming year. She said to do more of the same, but better. I like that, and I, too, will do more of the same but better; however, my number one resolution is more concerned with character than achievements: