Surviving 2021

I wonder what a glowingly positive year-in-review post looks like? One not littered by “under the circumstances” caveats? I’m having a hard time imagining it. 2021 was just another one of those years. A year smothered by pandemic woes, wracked by climate change, fractured by political unrest, and anxious with uncertainty. Yet another year of relievedly counting my blessings. That I’ve managed to stay safe and healthy with a place to live and a secure job in a year when untold millions can’t say the same. Another year of being grateful for the wonderful people stubbornly holding at bay the vast hordes of selfish sociopaths who’d just as soon watch their neighbors die as lift a finger to protect them. Once again, sifting nuggets of optimism from the toxic river.

Yep, 2021 sucked. Yet here I am, again, still breathing at the end of it. I am feeling very, very fortunate to have been in a position to weather it; indeed, guilty with the privilege of it. And I made a concerted effort to be appreciative of the happy moments, of which there were plenty, thanks to Jenn and the cats and my friends and family and work colleagues. It was a challenging but rewarding year at the day job. I spent 98% of the year in my favorite place: my house. Even though being at home is my sweet spot, it’s really starting to get a bit much, but I tried to make the most of it. I read twenty-four books and watched scads of shows and movies and wrote them all up on this blog (over 73,000 words worth of reviews this year, nearly 170 posts). I revised a novel, started a new one, and finished a novelette, clocking over 32,000 words of new fiction. Published fuck-all, of course, and my writing career has “died” again, but I’ve been here before. It’s part of the deal, I guess. Meanwhile, music came back into my life in a big way. I continued honing my bass chops, and got a new drum kit for my fiftieth birthday to play for the first time in over thirty years, which has now built into a near-daily routine. I’m starting to tinker with GarageBand composing again, and I discovered a fuckton of great new bands this year. Zappa was right: music is the best.

I am, in other words, hanging in there. It’s exhausting, but what else can you do? I suppose that’s not a very uplifting sentiment to end the year on, but maybe 2021 doesn’t deserve that. Let’s just say, I’m happy to put this one in the rearview mirror and try, once again, to push the reset button. Thanks for reading, and here’s hoping for a better year in 2022.

(Posted below: my modest attempt to play the classic Primus track “Eleven,” an appropriately out-of-step song for the times.)

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