December 31, 2020

Well, what a wild ride this year turned out to be. As with most years, there were plenty of endings and beginnings, with, unfortunately, the endings taking precedence – at least for us here in the Richard household. And, as y’all will see, there is one more ending to come. But then to add the whole COVID-19 bullshit on top of everything else, it made 2020 just a wearying, stressful year in so many ways. Between the lock-downs, the mask-wearing, working from home, kids at home learning remotely, and not least the presidential election, everyone seems fried. I see it in peoples’ faces when they come into the store and we start talking – most folks feel that they’ve been patient and willing to do their part, but the goalposts keep getting moved and there is zero faith in what the so-called “experts” have been saying; the level of trust in all of our institutions – most especially government and the media has collapsed.

(Personally, I think we’re in very dangerous territory, and I think 2021 is going to be the year of the Big Pushback, with a political reckoning coming in the 2022 midterms. Our tin-eared politicians in Washington don’t realize the fire they are playing with and there’s an economic reckoning coming next year when commercial real estate collapses and the banks get crushed as a result. It is going to be ugly. But I digress.)

It was a bad year for the rabbits, as we lost Marlie in early February, and Tammy’s Butterscotch in July. Both weren’t exactly unexpected, as they were both up there in terms of bunny years, but it was painful nevertheless. Of course, the best way to remember the rabbits you have lost is to saddle up and just bring in some new ones, and plans are already underway to bring three new baby rabbits into our house in just a couple of weeks once I get my old office cleaned out.

Ah, the office. Which brings me to the greatest change of the year, which was getting laid off from my healthcare IT job at the end of March. Never in a million years could I have imagined at this time last year that I’d be playing a pool supply retail guy at the end of 2020. But it has turned out better than I ever could have expected. Sure, it would have been nice to be able to make it to 2022 and formally retire when I turned 67, but I got a great severance that eased the pain and allowed me to find something that I could enjoy doing without all the stress. Sure, the pay isn’t great – it isn’t even good – and I’ve lost a certain amount of freedom to come and go as I choose (there’s no more “have laptop, will travel”), but for right now, at age 65 and less than a year away from my Social Security full retirement age I have the opportunity to get out of the house and interact with people and still make money doing something I enjoy without any stress. There aren’t too many people who can say that, I’ll tell you!

And there were also those blessings that we all try not to take for granted. We all got through the year without any major health issues, we all avoided getting the Chinese virus, and I’m especially grateful that my dad back in Massachusetts and his retirement community were spared. Financially we find ourselves in as good a place as we’ve ever been, and we avoided any major calamities as far as the house is concerned. A great joy of the year is the bird feeder I hung in the backyard under the Mesquite tree; we now have birds everywhere and they’re eating us out of house and home! Their fussing and constant chattering has brought the backyard to life and made morning coffee on the patio a time to cherish and behold.

One additional ending that 2020 brought was my official retirement as a member of the Goodboys. It was a long time coming, as I hadn’t really enjoyed the last couple of Goodboys Invitational weekends. Truth be told, if it wasn’t for all the COVID-19 bullshit and the increased hassle of travel I might just have seen it through to #30 in terms of years. But it ended up being a good decision; I couldn’t get motivated to work on my golf game, and whenever I tried to it went off the rails in a big way. Had I participated it would have been a disaster, at least golf-wise. I honestly don’t know how much, or even if, I’ll play in 2021. We’ll just have to see if I can generate some interest.

I don’t really have any goals or hopes for 2021. Just try to stay healthy and play everything by ear, I guess. I’ve committed to playing pool supply guy at least through the end of next year, but it’s also reassuring to know that if something were to arise in any way, manner, shape or form I can just walk away without it killing ourselves financially. It’s a good gig, but in the quiet times when I’ve had a chance to just sit and think about where I am and what I am, I realize I still haven’t come to terms with the loss of my healthcare IT career on someone else’s terms and not mine. Of course, it was going to happen inevitably, but the way it happened and what I’m doing right now just seems to reinforce how old I have become and what the coming years will inevitably bring. I guess I’m just not ready to be this old – it’s just puzzling to me where all the years of gone. Whether or not those years were navigated wisely isn’t the question – one only has one life and you live it the best you can; it’s just I can feel my world circle and world view shrink just a little smaller with each passing day. I guess all one can do is push back against it as much as I can, while I can.

At any rate, that’s it for 2020. Normally, this is the point where I’d be asking George Harrison’s “Ding Dong, Ding Dong” to help ring out the old and ring in a new year of blogging, but this year I’m choosing a different Harrison song.

To be continued…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 05:30 | Comments Off on Auld Lang Syne
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