It’s that time of year again. First of December. Beginning of the end of yet another year.
Time to take stock as my 2020 reflections start stacking up. Lots to say so I may need more than one post!
My 2020 challenges really started in 2019!
For many, 2020 had been an extremely challenging and difficult year. I understand that all too well. I also understood it way ahead of everyone.
You see, my 2020 actually ‘started’ in 2019!
It was the year I left my last full-time career out there in the big bad world of work, and retreated into the protective sanctity of my abode to be a stay-at-home dad (SAHD).
A very different kind of full-time career for me for sure. In fact, few would even consider such a role as worthy of the lofty label of ‘career’, though they would likely be too polite to say so to me, but hide instead behind patronising platitudes.
While everyone was wrestling with how to juggle work-from-home and personal/family time since the second quarter of 2020, when Covid-19 wreaked global havoc, I had already begun wrestling with that balance long before.
Because since 2018, I had given up a stable full-time lecturing position in order to take on full-time freelance work that allowed me to be home most of the time with my boys.
It was a decision that I would come to regret, though thankfully it’s less gloom-and-doom than that.
Well, it all started pretty rosy and hopeful, as all such life changes promise to at first.
I would be able to stay away from office shenanigans and work flexibly from home most of the time. Also, I would get to spend time with my boys and help them navigate life in close daily proximity.
A Murphy’s Law set-up if ever there was one!
Except Mr Clueless here was, well, clueless about the train-wreck that laid ahead.
Fast forward to May 2019.
There I was, out of a job both by choice as well as by circumstances. The effects of the triple threat of losing currency, career and colleagues gradually made themselves known over the ensuing months. The loneliness and uncertainty of what laid ahead were, at various points in those months, both unexpected and unpleasant.
Thankfully I obtained some part-time lecturing gigs five months later, and also gradually settled more comfortably into my role as a SAHD. My blogging experiment also picked up speed as I transitioned into 2020 and, coupled with my book-writing, provided me that long-overdue creative outlet I had been missing for much of my life.
A life of writing & working from home
All in all, as I muse over my 2020 reflections, I realise increasingly that 2019 helped prepare me earlier than most for the tsunami that was Covid-19 in 2020.
Before everyone else did, I had already gotten used to the rhythm of isolation. The kind that comes with living and working from home every waking hour of every single day during lockdowns that began for many worldwide since early 2020.
Perhaps the only thing I hadn’t been prepared for was for everyone else to ‘join me’ in this rhythm.
While woe-begotten tales poured in from all four corners of the world that lamented the loss of freedom and the sense of repression brought on by many being cooped up at home, I had no such problems. Or rather, it was familiar territory for me.
But, understandably, it wasn’t so for many. And thus it felt at times like people were griping too close to my ears and I couldn’t help but feel claustrophobic.
In fact at various points, I even resented ‘sharing’ this isolating experience with the rest of the world! I thought it was too precious a gift, this near-hermit of a life of a novice writer. But now, more were getting a taste of what it’s like to be living day in and out in the same space we used to just eat, sleep, and Netflix-binged in.
Riding out of 2020. Writing into 2021.
Now, as 2020 begins its exit and I begin my 2020 reflections and musings, the world’s looking forward to get out again in 2021 as do I.
Though for very different reasons.
The world wants the vaccines to come and set them free so they can resume their lives pre-Covid. I, on the other hand, want the world out so that I can regain my privacy and silence within, the source and wellspring of my writing.
So here’s hoping we both get what we want:
The world to continue riding out of 2020.
And me to continue writing into 2021!