So, we're officially God only knows how far into the pandemic, which means we have God only knows how long to go before we officially have all the drastic measures we've had to take in the rear view mirror and can return to our "normal" lives (or at least the semblance thereof).
With that in mind, I think it's a good time to pause and consider just how much progress I've made on the many goals and objectives I set for myself last April when we all officially went into the bunker and closed the door with the idea that we'd all be out and things would be fine in a few weeks. Goal No. 1 was to make better predictions. Epic fail there.
You remember them? The things we were all going to do now that we had more time on our hands, unencumbered by stuff like daily commutes, or actually leaving the house?
Now, you may be asking yourself, is this a good time? Well, as the saying goes, an unexamined life may not be worth living. Unless you have Netflix, in which case, you've already got something to do. OK, that's not exactly how that goes, but you get the drift.
So, let's take a look under the hood of all the commitments I made myself when 2020 hit the fan, shall we?
For one thing, I have yet to finish "War and Peace." I realize I'd be a lot farther along on this goal if I'd actually started "War and Peace." Or, procured in some way "War and Peace." If the journey of a thousand miles (or many thousands of pages full of long Russian names and depressing circumstances) begins with a single step, I haven't even put on my walking shoes.
Now this isn't just an issue between me and Tolstoy. Mostly because he's been dead a long time, and probably doesn't care that I haven't read his brick book. I also haven't read lots of other books, magazines, articles, the odd pamphlet and some warning labels I promised myself I would. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, in my case it's also paved with a certain long Russian novel, many shorter novels, back issues of lots of business journals and directions on how to change the water filter on my fridge.
My weight during this pandemic thing has not changed. Now, on some level that might appear to be a brag. But most people have fallen into one of two camps during this time. Either they've aggressively embraced a life-changing workout schedule designed to reinvent themselves (which sounds like a lot of work). Or, they've given into their hedonistic impulses, decided you only live once and you can wear stretchy pants thru all of it, and slammed a solid quart of Triple Fudge Brownie ice cream every day (which sounds like fun).
I did neither. Which, to be frank, sounds like a missed opportunity. I mean, the Bible has something to say about lukewarm effort, and that's literally and figuratively been the case with me.
I can't play the guitar. I haven't mastered (or even attempted) making bread. My garden is remarkably un-Versailles-like. I haven't biked to Montana and back, don't speak Spanish or French or Mandarin or any other language. Frankly, if it weren't for spell-check or editors, you wouldn't even think I speak English all that well.
My "electronic clutter" remains cluttered, mostly because I can never remember what day I'm supposed to take my electronic trash can to the curb to be picked up by the electronic trash truck. Which, I'm pretty sure is not the way that works. Maybe if I read that article in Wired magazine I was going to get around to ...
In short, I haven't done anything except the one thing I probably really needed to do. I survived, sanity and relationships more or less intact (or at least not any worse for wear).
Because, as I've said before (another missed goal: stop repeating yourself), these are strange and difficult times and perhaps the worst thing we can do is make them stranger and more difficult by being too hard on ourselves and those around us.
And if that doesn't work for you, well, since it looks like this pandemic stuff is going to be around for a while, we've still got time.
Yeah, that sounds pretty good. Maybe I should include that in my book. Which I haven't gotten around to writing yet.
Gary Smith is a recovering journalist living in Rogers.