There’s a song by a former acquaintance of mine, country singer Jim Lauderdale, that has been popping into the coconut that sits atop my neck the past week. It’s called This World Is Getting Mean, and tries to find perspective, bringing things down to earth and what’s important to each of us, our homes and families.
To be honest, I find myself so distracted by everything going on out there in the world that I have no control over – the bad news, the confusion – I’ve decided I need to back off from social media for a while. Spending too much time reading stuff on the internet is not unlike reading the back of a cereal box over breakfast – you sit there reading with glazed over eyes like you’re not awake yet.
As a matter of fact, that's me going into the New Year. I just hope I don't need a password to get into 2021.
By the way, is the time in between Christmas and New Year's Day one of the most irrelevant weeks of the year? With Christmas over, you feel like getting back into the swing of things but wait, there's that new year thing to get past first. So, not a lot gets done this week.
It’s not too late to be coming up with some New Year’s resolutions, you know, like I’m going to lose weight and get in shape or something else equally high-sounding. Looking at last year’s intentions, I’ve got to be careful or lest I get called out by my wife and the good-natured wag of a finger.
But I thought before I make new promises for myself I would first count my blessings. Lord knows there are too many to list off here, but the shortlist would include my wife who puts up with me every day, my two kids and my grandkids, my brother and my sisters…and before this gets to be a long list, my step-daughter and her family.
Counting your blessings kind of puts you in the right frame of mind to make resolutions for 2021, I figure.
Getting back to those New Year’s resolutions. In a way, at least for me, a new year’s resolution is not unlike a debate topic. For example, "Resolved: John will lose seven pounds between now and Dec. 31, 2021." We could debate that.
Actually, that one is the topmost commonly broken resolution, according to Time Magazine’s top ten. Right behind losing weight is quit smoking, followed by learning something new, get out of debt and save money, spend more time with family, travel to someplace new, be less stressed, volunteer, and drink less.
Maybe we could change the whole resolution thing by making New Year’s pledge instead. Not like pledging allegiance to the flag, but more like a promise or an affirmation, as in I pledge to be a good boy in 2021 and proofread better and maybe cut back on the fudge.
If you had one word to sum up 2020, what would it be?
"Pandemic" is what Merriam-Webster says is the word of the year. And if you ask Dictionary.com, the word is also "pandemic." Collins dictionary gave that honor to "lockdown."
Oxford Dictionaries declared that it has not chosen a word for 2020 because this is “a year which cannot neatly be accommodated in one single word."
May I offer some suggestions?
After giving it a lot of thought - about two seconds - I came up with "abbi-normal," with apologies to Igor in the movie Young Frankenstein. And if things work out better this year, my word for 2021 will be "normal-normal."
If you want to hedge your bets on having good fortune in the coming year, don’t forget to sweep the floor toward the outside of the house to drive out everything bad, like making a clean start.
They say eating certain things will bring good fortune, like black-eyed peas, lentils, pomegranates, and cornbread. Some people like to eat 12 grapes at the moment that the countdown to midnight begins to represent 12 wishes. And there’s one old custom of wearing red underwear tonight to attract love.
Hmm…I don’t know if my union suit will suffice. I’ll ask my wife.
Admittedly, this past year hasn't been a complete disaster, and I'm happy to report that I've learned at least three new things:
1) Don't crack a smile when your cat wants to crawl on your shoulder during a Zoom meeting.
2) Don't let others hear the microwave beeping or toilet flush during a Zoom meeting.
3) Use a fake background if attending a Zoom meeting while propped up in bed on a comfy cushion.
As for New Year’s Eve, it’s been such a long year all I want to do is go to bed early and get some sleep.
And why isn’t New Year’s Eve called Old Year’s Day instead?
So long, 2020, it’s about good and dang time.