Reflecting on 2021

Our baby girl arrived at 11:45pm on Christmas Eve. We were stuck in the hospital for three days under strict Covid protocols. It feels like it was only a few days ago, but also forever ago.

We keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, only to find another tunnel waiting for us. We hoped that we’d celebrate our daughter’s first birthday with friends and family. Omicron took that away from us, as it has for so many others.

Still, we’re among the privileged. I’ve worked from home since 2015. We bought our house in late 2019, only months before everything went off the rails. My wife took 18 months extended maternity leave. Her mom lives with us. We live in a safe and quiet neighbourhood with tree-lined streets. Waterfront trails are just a few minutes’ walk from our door. I’m looking out my window right now. Bare branches against blue sky.

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I’m lucky. We’re lucky. We can sit at home and watch TV and complain about Ontario’s conservative government not doing enough to support frontline staff or healthcare workers. But our closest lived experience is donning masks for takeout. Amazon and Instacart bring us most of what we need. There’s no interaction. They drop the goods on the front step. We watch from the window. When they leave, we bring it in.

If I had to sum up 2021 in one word, it’d be dissonance. My social feeds are full of web3 metaverse NFT tech marketing hype memes. My wife’s feed is full of mommy influencers, cute babies and vegan recipes. Cocomelon’s on in the background. Our little chaos monkey is trying to climb the safety gate again.

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Now and then I’ll get lost in a fuzzy mental state, flopping between helplessness and optimism. This is the hand we’ve been dealt. It’s better than most. But everything leaves a ripple. We see it in the supply chain bottlenecks, housing prices, inflation. You can’t get away from it. Not completely. It’s a global issue, like climate change, but more acute, concentrated.

All we can do is make little decisions, one after another, and hope we find our way out of the tunnel. There’ll be another, and another, and another. C’est la vie. We can appreciate the moments in the light, when they come, before we find ourselves back in the tunnel.

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I’m taking the next two weeks off to unplug and spend time with the family. Our baby girl turns a year old on Christmas Eve. That’s all I care about right now. (Well, that, and getting the last of our decorations up, and the last few gifts wrapped.)

We’re also seeing No Way Home this afternoon, so that’s something.

Happy Holidays. See you in 2022.