When Hindsight Really Was 2020


We’ve seen the meme, grateful for the smile it brought.

Not only did CoVid-19 take over our lives this year, it took over my blog for three months beginning in March, returning once in December when I talked about having my first CoVid test. I’m not complaining, mind you; Face Masks and the Power of Culture on April 8 got the highest number of comments of the year. A topic to which we all could relate, I imagine.

Today, I’m profoundly weary of it and of the factors that have led to its spread. That weariness is showing up in more places than I’d ever have expected a year ago including here at And So It Goes. And so it goes.

I considered taking a break, as I did in the spring and summer of 2019, but I feared if I stepped back, I’d never return.

When my website crashed in late summer this year (the old theme didn’t update and finally caught up to me) I could have taken that as a sign. Instead I spent nearly $1000 to fix it. Now I must make that investment pay off. I call this the Vietnam War philosophy: We can’t pull out now; we’ve invested far too much!

It’s possible I’m depressed (we all deserve to be depressed). I’m certainly tired. And though I refuse to watch TV network news programs, I keep up with what’s going on in the world via independent and long-tested print news outlets. Never in my lifetime have I felt my country so adrift, so many people vulnerable, or the democracy I cherish so fragile.

I’m a privileged straight white woman who can afford to hunker down and ride this out, which is exactly what I’ve done since March 13. And I’m sick of it.

Then I feel guilty. Anne Frank hung in there for more than two years!

Of course, we’ll need to change “a few weeks” to “probably about a year.”

We humans are reportedly resilient when we need to be; I know this from the nearly two hundred memoirs of Holocaust survivors I’ve read over the past twenty years. Only now I’m recognizing there were another six million who might argue resilience is sometimes not enough.

I expected my work with asylum seekers to bolster me. It certainly gave me a much needed new focus a year ago and it’s been a pleasure having our young man live with us these past four months (I never expected how helpful he’d be). But I’m also newly aware that my government has been mucking up the immigration system for decades.

The view of my country that I grew up with was the melting pot (though the better metaphor has shown itself to be a stew). Immigrants from around the world sought refuge and opportunity in MY country. I came of age proud of this.

Turns out we have not been a particularly welcoming country for decades; the immigration mess just got more press under tRump.

Maybe that’s a good thing, in hindsight.

We have a president who chooses his words for impact only, regardless of their veracity; whose insecurity, vulgarity, ineptitude, and basic corruption has brought the office of President of these United States to a new low, allowed the coronavirus pandemic to flourish, and made life much more dangerous for non-white, non-straight, or poor Americans. Our president is a grifter, a conman extraordinaire, the quintessential flimflam man of old. And even more Americans voted for him in this recent election than in 2016.

As all presidents have done, tRump swore an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President” and to “preserve, protect and defend” our Constitution. That he has failed miserably on that score is second only to the fact that his party, the once honorable GOP, hasn’t held him accountable for a single one of his vulgar, duplicitous acts of sabotage.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Thanks for this image, Bernie.

In less than 25 days we’ll have a new leader in place. Egg baskets holding what they do, I’ll not rely on one man to fix the problems that have been festering for generations. The divisions go deeper than four years will fix. I have done all I can on that score. It’s time to look inward.

It’s also time to look to the future.

Next week I’ll return, eagerly once again, to tell you what I’m focusing on as I look ahead to 2021. In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me to welcome in the New Year with both gusto and gratitude.

How about you? How are you faring these days?

12 Responses

  1. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    Hindsight is 2020! Perfect. I think you speak for most of us here. I just heard my dear great aunt and uncle, in their mid-90s have Covid. So I´m feeling very sad right now. Wishing you and your family a better 2021! There is always hope. xo
    Darlene Foster recently posted…Reading Challenge 2020My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I’m so sorry to hear the news of your great aunt and uncle. I know well how much a great uncle and aunt can have on one’s life; I lived with mine for a few years when I was a pre-schooler. My hope for you in the new year: that you are able to maintain connection with them as they heal. Thanks for starting us off. (and winding through the two earlier dead ends).
      Janet Givens recently posted…When Hindsight Really Was 2020My Profile

      • Darlene Foster
        | Reply

        Thanks, Janet. They are the last of that generation in my family and quite precious. They had been doing so well too. Stay safe. xo

  2. susan scott
    | Reply

    Maybe ‘execute’ takes on a new meaning?

    Thanks for your post Janet, you say very clearly about this year. Not just there but everywhere. We too are able to continue to live comfortably in spite of the lockdowns, made more stringent last Monday by the president’s speech to the nation.

    2020 – in ophthalmology it means perfect vision … hopefully this awful year gives us that, looking back –

    Gusto and gratitude to the gifts that 2021 may bring. Health, peace, goodwill to you and yours, and all …
    susan scott recently posted…Solstice, travels, lockdown –My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Susan. I love it when English words have such dramatically different meanings. Thanks for pointing that one out. It brought a smile. I don’t know about your president’s Monday night speech, but I trust he is implementing vital safeguards. Do I remember correctly that David is an ophthalmologist? 20/20 in that sense means you can see 20 point type at 20 feet. Yes? But you use meters. How does that compare? Happy New Year to you and yours. It can only go up.
      Janet Givens recently posted…When Hindsight Really Was 2020My Profile

  3. Barbara Piscopo
    | Reply

    Here’s to a Happy and Healthier 2021!
    Your post this morning hit home when you commented that we all deserve to be a little depressed. I know I am..last night and still yet this morning, there is just this cloud of sadness over my head and that is so unlike me. Usually I can shake it off pretty easily but not this time.
    That being said, looking ahead to 2021 does give me some hope and promise that we can all start over again—hit the “re-set button” of life, if you will, with a new year.
    I’ve often said that in times of crisis and stress all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. IT IS SO TRUE!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Barbara, I’m thrilled to see you here. Welcome. I apologize for my tardiness; turns out I’m not getting notifications of Comments at the moment — something to look into when I have some down time.

      I’ve long thought that the very best thing to do when we feel depressed is to own it. “I’m depressed!” And then to enjoy it as much as possible. When I’ve feeling that way I run to a bubble bath, or a pot of tea, or certain songs. We all have something. For some it’s the “better living through chemistry” road. Whatever it takes. But own it, for it’s true. So, thanks for doing that. And yes indeed, we all have good reasons to feel depressed. I love the idea of a reset button.

      “One foot in front of the other,” an old song goes, “and lead with love.” Thanks for reminding me of that old protest march song. I’m looking forward to our LEAPFROG conversations, starting January 13. Thank you for making it happen.
      Janet Givens recently posted…(Im)Patience: My Word for 2021My Profile

  4. Nancy McBride
    | Reply

    My breathing may begin to even out as of 1/20, MY new year.

  5. Janet Morrison
    | Reply

    I’m hanging in there, too, Janet. Sadly, you have hit the nail on the head in your words about tRump. I never thought I’d see our country in this shape. Until now, I never realized how fragile our democracy is. It seems Americans couldn’t be more divided than we are now, short of civil war. Neither side can understand how in the world the other side can be so wrong and misled. It is truly frightening and depressing. Thank God, Joe Biden was elected. He’s going to need all the help he can get to even begin to turn our country around so we can look toward the future. This coming week promises to be contentious. I dread seeing what Wednesday will bring.
    Janet Morrison recently posted…Did I Find Contentment and Peace in 2020?My Profile

  6. Susan Jackson
    | Reply

    It is awful to say I was lucky to get really sick the end of February and bedbound for 2 months so if I had a gun I would have shot myself. The syndrome I have is very rare and as I went on a group on Facebook I did get depressed as it is a progressive disease. I finally got off the site and I feel better. My husband has Parkinson’s and dementia and I have to be his caregiver so luckily I have gotten somewhat better—I can stand much longer than 2 minutes now. My son is on kidney dialysis 3xwk for 5 hrs a time, has 5 heart stents, enlarged lymph nodes in his lungs but has now been cleared to have his chest cut open and two valves in the back of his heart repaired or replaced—he is 50–we never thought he would live past 15 as he was a brittle diabetic. So—how will 2021 be—hopefully better for our country—I can’t wait to get the covid shots—I am not depressed but I am sad/worried/distressed. I am lucky I had a good 4 yrs retired and traveling more before all this happened-but what now—like Janet I am OK—have more money than i spend and sad that I won’t be able to spend it on vacations as that is what I worked so hard to save for. Well, who know how 2021 will be.

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