While X-mas is really not my holiday, I usually tend to enjoy the end of the year season quite a bit. And finally, even this is coming to an end, offering a bit of perspective looking back, and of course forward. Good enough reason to write a post on this occasion, particularly since we're not just finishing off a regular, normal, run-of-the-mill kind of year.
2020, Was It Really All That Bad?
If you look at social media in general, this year hasn't come off with a good start, and in fact it just kept getting worse. Remember the Australian wildfires, the confrontation between the US and Iran, and the unsuccessful Trump impeachment? Yeah, that was even before the Covid lockdowns started, but the year had already been declared a disaster. And the list just kept growing: the California wildfires, all kinds of insanity surrounding the elections, and violence in the streets all over the US (not to mention places like Belarus). No wonder this year (which otherwise suggest clarity of vision) has gotten such a bad rep.
One thing that I keep noticing, however, is that whenever I feel overwhelmed by the insanity of this world, all I have to do is close my eyes, lift my head. Then, once I look around above all the bad news on the screen, I realize that it all took place only in there... or out there... in any case, somewhere else. No reason to let it affect my actual reality.
Looking Back at a Fairly Amazing Year
Now, if I just consider this year from my own selfish viewpoint, I have to admit that I've seen worse. In fact, 2020 actually had some successful event in store for me, and not just one.
I started out January with a week of fasting in a gorgeous beach location. Next, I took part in a natural construction project, which (thanks to Covid) ended up taking more time, being more challenging, but also was a sweeter reward when we managed to complete it. Over the summer, I had the chance to spend some relaxing time on a friend's property in Southern California, cleaning it up, looking at nature, and even starting another building project. All of these episodes have left a beautiful memory in my mind, with lots of opportunities for the future.
What's the Word?
Have you heard of @senorcoconut 's challenge? It's been up for like two weeks, but I only saw it now. Basically he wants you to come up with a word for 2020 that's supposed to guide you also through 2021. You still have time till the end of the year (the end of today) to post a reply. And there are some prizes to be won too!
So what would my word be, looking back at this weird year, and ahead onto the coming one? Maybe something others can relate to, a little bit? After a bit of deliberation, I decided to go with retreat.
Whatever is this supposed to mean? Like blowing retreat in a battle to signal falling back? Or is it more like a work retreat, to get out of the office and spend some time in the woods? I'd say a little bit like both.
How did I manage to avoid being affected by the insane lockdown measures? How did I not get locked in a quarantine? How was I exempt from all the psychological side effects of the virus that's going around? Well, the quick answer is: I was on a retreat.
Sure, the small town on the Mexican coast, where I spent the first five months, got to feel the Covid measures too, particularly around April - May. But what did that mean for us? That we had to go out of our way a little to buy beer, and play a bit of cat and mouse if we wanted to go to the beach. But that's it.
Also, hanging out in the California desert it felt quite similar: while Covid was going rampant just an hour's drive away in San Diego (and other urban areas), for us the rattlesnakes posed a more serious and clearly present danger, compared to which the Covid was more like a joke.
Finally, even those remaining months that I got to spend at home in the city, my lifestyle was not altered that much. Teaching on-line classes was quite a welcome change, and since I never liked going out anyway, I experienced the Covid response as positive. The city become more quiet and less nerve wrecking.
So What's Next?
To formulate a strategy that has worked for me this year, I'd like to take the approach of retreating from battle, as my guiding word for next year too. By this I mean particularly the pointless battles, such as getting into confrontation over masks, or being worried about forced vaccinations. Instead, I want to keep to my retreats either at home, in some tiny beach town, or on some remote desert property. And yes, there are tons of awesome places, with tons of awesome things to do. I know, California is calling me back, and I also see a good chance that Mazunte will see a continuation... hopefully this coming year.
Happy New Year Y'all!
Now, I understand, retreat might not be your favored approach to all the things happening in this world, and I don't expect it to be. However, I still hope that the next year will bring its own set of benefits for you. May you all stay safe, healthy, and happy, and make some amazing things happen. (Because I know, we always do.) So let's take 2021 for all it is worth to get the best out of it. And then let's post about it on Hive! I can't wait to read about it.