Good Riddance

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I don’t think I have ever looked forward to the turning of a page to a new year than I have this one. While I suspect we won’t be back to whatever a new normal is until late 2021 early 2022, and that these next three months are going to be among the worst we have experienced so far, at least there is an optimism that we are finally on the downhill side of this thing.

Given this year was an exercise in futility, it is all the more reason to be optimistic about the future. After all, when you hit rock bottom, the view can only get better from there. So in that spirit, here are my resolutions for 2021

1. STAY HEALTHY: The vaccines are here and the rate of the virus’ spread is skyrocketing. Some states are worse than others, obviously, and there appears to be a new variant that is more contagious, but hope is on the way. I have read stories of how combat soldiers who are close to the end of their tour fear the last few weeks/months the most because they are so close to surviving that hell and live to tell about it. I feel the same way about the virus, so we’ll keep hunkering down and try to stay out of the fray. Losing anyone to this thing at any time is devastating, but having to deal with that now at this stage of the game would suck beyond compare.

2. STOP BEING A NEWS JUNKIE: There was a period of time where I couldn’t get enough of the evening news programing. I was glued to the developments of the virus spread, what we were (or weren’t) doing to effectively combat it, not to mention the election campaigns. All this did was fuel my anxiety, frustration and anger to the point where I didn’t like myself. So I haven’t watched a single episode of any of that programming in over a month, and I hope to keep it that way. It is better for me to stay informed via print because it isn’t so in your face, and is something I can choose to read or skim over. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

3. WRITE NOVEL #2: We are stuck indoors with nothing to do, so if I don’t take advantage of the situation this might not ever happen. I started in earnest a few weeks back, and was surprised to discover this wasn’t going to be easy. I had to write an opening for a plot that centers around several pieces I wrote a couple of years ago. The good news is that once I started it became a habit, like I suspected it would, and and I finally have some momentum going, but the bad news is this is not coming as easily as the first one I wrote. I actually wrote two versions of the opening that I wound up deleting, but the third attempt turned out to be a charm. I haven’t revisited it in a couple of days, but that turned out to be a good thing because while I was working out an epiphany came regarding how the rest of the story could proceed, so at least I have a roadmap to follow. I couldn’t say that last week. So the hook is being set, and I just need to keep it moving forward. Of course, the will mean less time for posting in this space, but perhaps I can still manage a post or two a month.

4. MAKE FRIENDS AND FAMILY A PRIORITY: It isn’t like I’ve ignored them, but be honest. How many of us have had the opportunity to meet with our friends or relatives, only to beg off or postpone it because some other “priority” got in the way. Given most my interaction with human beings has been of the Skype/Zoom variety since this all started, I have a much better appreciation for personal contact. I’d give anything right now to gather with friends over a good meal or some drinks, and bathe in the warmth of their company. I suppose being deprived of anything makes us appreciate it more, but if this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that good friends and a supportive family are like gold, and should not be taken for granted. I am hoping that the one positive thing I take out of this shit-storm is to make spending time with them a priority. Everything else can wait.

5. GO TO A SPORTING EVENT: I have a Red Sox partial season ticket plan, and last year was the first time in a while that I can remember where I didn’t go to see a single game. Being able to see them in person this year would mean that the pandemic has subsided to at least the level where it is safe/safer to mingle. I doubt I would go if the stadium is packed until 2022, but I would love to go to a game where perhaps they have about one-third capacity and everyone is distanced as far as seating is concerned. That would certainly be an indicator that normalcy is on the way.

6. NAVIGATE THE VACCINE – M.S. QUANDRY AND COME OUT OF IT UNSCATHED: What does that mean? Well, I get heavy duty drugs infused every six months, and get my blood filtered via plasma transfer (PT) ten times a year. My next infusion and PT is scheduled in a little over two weeks, the hospital I work at is starting the vaccination process, and there are a lot of unknowns. Specifically, if I get the meds and then the vaccine, how are they going to interact? Are the side effects going to be worse? Am I going to have to defer the MS meds for longer than I am comfortable with? Also, depending on when I’d be eligible to get the vaccine, how long will I have to go without getting the PTs? I know I will have to get two doses spaced three or four weeks apart, and my PTs are also spaced four weeks apart. The problem is that these procedures filter any medicine out of my blood stream. So how long does the vaccine need to stay in one’s body to do its work? That’s important because when all this started, I went more than two months between PTs and it was not good for the MS. My symptoms got worse and never fully improved afterwards. I know what COVID does, so the vaccinations are the lesser of two evils, but I am truly concerned about this because I can’t escape the feeling that in order to save myself from COVID, it will make the MS worse. Perhaps permanently.

7. GET OUT OF BAD HABITS: Since this all started, my alcohol and MMJ intake has escalated. I suppose this doesn’t make me different from many, but I have gotten into a pattern where the MMJ has become a mostly every night thing, and instead of having a drink maybe every couple of weeks, I’ve graduated to every weekend and some week nights, depending on my mood. So while I’m not concerned about not begin able to get off that train, it would be naive to think this is a good thing. But it has served a purpose, which is to numb myself from this shitty reality. Especially at night.

8. BECOME MYSELF AGAIN: I’ve become much more introverted and introspective during these last nine months. I’ve become angrier, less patient, and more judgmental. That isn’t me, and I’d like to think it’s a by- product of the forced isolation. A major attitude adjustment is needed, and I’m hoping that as the curtain slowly closes on this sad episode of our nation’s history, my optimism and kindness of spirit will rise from the ashes.

Happy New Year everyone! May the new year bring peace, happiness, and above all health, to you and your loved ones.