|Me at 52.The Godzilla hockey jersey and Snoopy|
at the typewriter were birthday gifts from Cathy.
The Bluetooth mechanical keyboard and iPad are
how I write lately. I love it.
First of all, thank you to everyone who left kind words on my Facebook wall wishing me a happy birthday. There are many, many evils to Facebook, but it's always nice on my birthday to have friends and family take a few seconds to reach out and wish me well. My apologies for taking so long to say thanks.
I didn't do one of these last year, but perhaps because we kicked off my birthday weekend by putting our dog to sleep, I wasn't exactly in the best frame of mind that weekend.
But I'm in a better head space now. So how was 51?
Earlier the year, there was a meme where people were asked to post how they would rate their pandemic so far. A "1" meant things had gone really, really well. A "10" meant that something had gone pretty catastrophic for you.
Cathy and I thought about it, and we'd honestly have to give it a "3" for us. We've been hugely fortunate. Iqaluit has been mostly spared the worst of the pandemic*. Yes, there have been times we've had to work from home and take preventative measures, but I've rarely felt like I was taking my life into my hands if I wanted to buy groceries. We've been able to get our vaccinations and booster with no problem, frequently ahead of older family members. There have been work disruptions, but we're doing fine.
And just as importantly, close friends and family all appear to be doing ok. If anyone has gotten COVID, they don't seem to have got a severe case (Then again, they've almost all been uniformly smart enough to get vaccinated as quickly as possible).
We could even get a trip back to Newfoundland and see people. I can't begin to emphasize what a recharge that was. There was a moment sitting on Cathy's father's front deck at dusk when I heard this amazing, relaxing noise, and it took a moment to process what it was....it was the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees. It had been almost two years since I last heard it. Once I stopped laughing, I marvelled at just how good that simple sound made me feel.
So yes, hugely fortunate. And yet, there were times when we really struggled this year. When we'd get depressed or disproportionately aggravated at something. I genuinely feared for my sanity a couple of times when I listened to anti-vaxers. And that's just part of the pandemic mental health process. If we struggled at times when we have it relatively easy, I could only begin to imagine what medical professionals are going through. Or people in the service industry.
And that's the see-saw that we, and I suspect many others, went through - "Well, we have it much better than many, so I shouldn't feel bad." Then you still feel bad anyway, then you feel guilty about feeling bad. Spin, rinse, repeat.
But we had each other, and I think Cathy and I have levelled up in our communicating experience. You have to in these times. We got the puppies (more on them in my next blog post) which were a massive boost at the end of the year, even when we wanted to strangle them. And I did a lot of writing, which helped a lot.
(No, it wasn't blog posting. Blogging is, unfortunately, a very limiting way for me to write these days. I did other kinds of writing. No, you'll never read it, but it made me happy and that's the important thing).
So what's the plan for 52? As always, continue the work of being a better husband and friend to Cathy. I'm happy with how the writing went last year, so I'd like to keep the momentum going on that. Continue to work towards finding my zen in a world determined to shake it. And seriously, if the dogs don't get me moving a lot in the coming months, then I'm going to have to start getting serious about the gym.
There's no real international travel planned for this year. We're still trying to figure out what we're going to do. Plans range from renting a cottage in Ontario for a few weeks, to the slidely madder idea of renting a camper fan and driving back to Newfoundland. It's a little harder to travel with a less-than-year-old Goldendoodle and Coton de Tulear, and flying with them out of Ottawa is likely impossible.
And, if the fates allow, I'd really like to get to New York and go to a Comic-Con. I haven't been to one since Seattle in 2019. If I got to do that this year, I'd be pretty happy.
So, modest plans for 52. But until things get sane again, I think modest is the way to roll.
* Iqaluit is finding many interesting ways to harm us other than the occasional COVID outbreak. There's frequent power failures, rabid animals, weeks of no fresh food at the stores, and, oh yes, the charm of being able to light our drinking water on fire. We're currently on our second water advisory. We're getting through, but again, hugely fortunate that we have resources some others don't.
- Friendamine - Josh Ritter
- Space dog - Tori Amos
- East bound and down - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
- Leaning on you - Haim
- Seven Nation Army - Post Modern Jukebox (ft. Haley Reinhart)*
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