2020 was awful. Let's hope 2021 turns out better!
Funny thought to come from the same people who said that kind of thing for at least the past 4 years. Of course, while I've found myself scoffing at all the
“[previous year] was awful” memes and posts, I couldn't help but feel like I agree this time.
There's nothing like beginning the year feeling left behind by your peers and ending it feeling disbarred from catching up.
It all started to feel downhill when I got that first notice I wasn't going to be able to go to church in person. COVID-19 became impossible to ignore then and I was left thinking about all the things I couldn't do (despite probably not wanting to do them anyway) now that the country was locked up.
The spring came and went and I couldn't celebrate Easter with my extended family. Then summer rolled by and I celebrated my birthday with only my immediate family, once again.
Come fall I skipped traditional Halloween celebration because of my job, COVID concerns and other factors.
Work cranked into overdrive for the season and for the first time I had no choice but to sideline my passion projects just to make it day by day.
Thanksgiving came and went with another small celebration, again, due to COVID concerns.
The election happened and the country completely cracked in half.
Christmas even passed with a small celebration with gifts under the tree given by people who couldn't be there.
And now with the New Year approaching fast and another small celebration to be had without people we want to be there, the year might look to end just as distant as it began.
Never mind all the self doubt I've been riddled with thanks to a wide combination of factors- Work stress, nonconstructive criticism, no criticism at all, exhaustion, schedule slips, a generally cynical world and just the complete and total works.
When it comes down to it, if all you hear is bad news and you go around expecting disappointment, it can make make a year seem like the worst ever.
But let's put things into perspective.
Just a little less than 100 years ago, my grandparents lived in The Great Depression- A total and complete economic crash not ended until an even worse event occurred in World War II. One given year of either of those events alone beat just about every bad thing that happened in my lifetime- 2020 included.
Running further back in time, my mother is currently alive due to modern innovations in medicine helping her fight her cancer and keep it maintained- Every day I still have her is a blessing I would not be able to have had if we lived further back in the past.
Further back still, I count my blessings that I am still able to worship freely when I could have been born in an era of a church that tolerated no differences in doctrine, or even in an era where the Church was hunted down and destroyed at nearly every turn- The entire known world seemed against them and I am glad to live in a community that simply sees it as normal and inoffensive.
Life was, as they say, “nasty, brutish, and short”.
2020 doesn't compare.
But sometimes I'm still not convinced. Obviously it's the worst year I've ever lived through, right?
But there's been so much personal good for me as well.
Thanks to the government's COVID stimulus check earlier this year, I was able to purchase a Wacom Cintiq- a device which has thus far served me incredibly well and has improved my digital art not insignificantly.
I obtained a new job- A real one which pays enough to support me should I need to be completely independent- With health insurance and a dental plan and all things considered, work that could be worse.
In my own fear of the previous, The Holy Spirit came upon me in a way I haven't ever had before and I don't believe he has left me since.
My older brother, having previously been growing in Christ in miraculous ways thanks to his fiance, got married in a small, beautiful and intimate celebration and his wife is a wonderful new addition to our family.
Time and time again I have seen proof that what I've been doing online is worth something. There are people who care and value my work, and my patience is paying off.
I have grown artistically in leaps and bounds this year, as have my story telling chops, and I can tackle my projects with new vigor and strength which comes from greater confidence.
And through it all, I've played, laughed, relaxed, grown, built and overall improved throughout the year. What hard times I may have had, I can honestly say I've come out the other side better than I used to be.
2020 was bad.
I hope 2021 is better.
Even still, I remember:
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Happy new year, everyone.
And don't just hope for a good one- Remember the good bits too, okay?