THROWBACK THURSDAY: Bring back 2016

Was it just four years ago?

With all that’s been going on, and not going on, and with all of the meme sharing, good and bad, I’ve spent a little time pondering 2016, specifically the end of 2016.

Remember?

It seemed that, especially near the end of 2016 we were losing a lot of celebrities.

I mean just after Christmas that year we lost Carrie Fisher AND Debbie Reynolds just a day apart.

There’s this from The New Yorker:

But 2016 does seem to have earned some sort of special designation. Even before November, the year felt, to me, like a single sleepless night spent absorbing an interminable series of nightmares through my phone. There was Zika. There were terrorist attacks every few days, including the bombings in Brussels and the Bastille Day deaths in Nice. In June, fifty people were killed at a gay dance club in Orlando; in July, a single suicide bomb in Baghdad killed two hundred and ninety-two. David Bowie died, as did Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen. On July 5th, Alton Sterling was pinned to the ground and shot at close range by policemen in Baton Rouge; he had been selling CDs in a parking lot. On July 6th, Philando Castile was killed by police during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota; his last moments were caught on video by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who recorded Castile bleeding out as the hysterical officer berated her. On July 7th, during what had been a peaceful protest in Dallas against these unlawful police killings, five police officers were killed.

And, all of that was before we even got to the election.

I just remember all, okay not all, but a lot of us complaining online about how we wanted the year to just end already.

Of course no one sums up a year better than Dave Barry who, at the end of 2016 gave us: Dave Barry’s Year in Review: 2016 — What the … ?

Yes, we’ve seen some weird years. But we’ve never seen one as weird as 2016. This was the Al Yankovic of years. If years were movies, 2016 would be “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” If years were relatives, 2016 would be the uncle who shows up at your Thanksgiving dinner wearing his underpants on the outside.

With all due respect, Dave, I think we’re going to have to apologize to 2016.

Or not.

You’ve seen the other memes. “I’ve finished my 90 day trial of 2020, I’d like to return it.”

It’s a thought.

Here we are at the beginning of April facing another couple of months of social distancing.

Yes, I know the current recommendation from the President is through April 30. But here in Virginia, where we always pride ourselves in being snootier than thou, we’re under a Stay-at-Home order until June 10.

June. 10.

That’s a little more than two months of this.

Like I wrote the other day, I’m trying to seize this as an opportunity.

I’m trying to learn as much as I can.

I’m also trying not to eat as much as I can.

We’ll get through this. And, I hope that when we do, we’ll be a better people.

I’m not discounting the horrible loss of life that this virus is bringing. Just yesterday a high school friend who is quite an accomplished musician in New York City said online that he had lost eleven friends or acquaintances in the last two weeks.

Eleven. People. Two. Weeks.

Unimaginable.

I worry about friends. I have one local friend who has now quarantined himself after a call to the doctor. His symptoms are mild, but they fit the profile.

I worry about older relatives.

Heck, I’m an older relative.

Twenty years from now, will people look back and say that 2020 was worse than 2016?

I don’t know. Quite honestly, 2016 seems like a mostly distant memory.

I’m hoping the second half of 2020 will redeem the first.

It will if we flatten the curve.

Stay home.

Read my blog.

Buy my script on Amazon.

Buy my stuff on Zazzle and CafePress.

But, stay home so we can all get through this.


Recaffeinated Mondays: Seize the Days

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV

Most of us are now in week three of social distancing, and it’s not getting any easier.

Sure, I’ve seen the memes that our parents and grandparents were called off to fight a war and we’ve been asked to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. It sounds like a dream opportunity right? Until, it isn’t.

Long-time readers will know that I often write here about not being able to get to the list of projects to which I have committed. I have said on more than one occasion that my busy schedule was of my own doing. I chose to put those commitments on the calendar. So, any resulting stress was of my own making.

Then, within a matter of days, all of the extra stuff was taken away.

We’ve gone from burning the candles at both ends to not wanting to burn them at all because we don’t know how long they’ll be in stock at Walmart.

Like you, I’m not happy with where we are.

This season of inconvenience will pass. Not soon enough. And, things may never be quite “normal” again when it’s over. That may be a good thing.

While I think the virus is to be feared, and respected, and avoided (wash your hands), I fear for the damage to our economy and to our personal liberties.

I mean, think about it, due to what we’ve been told by our government, for the first time in our nation’s history, churches are empty on Sunday mornings.

I’m not saying that it’s a conspiracy, or that it’s even unwise. I am saying that we accepted it just a little too easily.

Still, that’s really not in my realm of control…at least not right now.

What I can control is how I choose to deal with this time.

I’m practicing the necessary social distancing. Sometimes I’m even practicing it at home as we all tend to have a lot of exposed nerves.

More to the point, I’m trying to see this time as an opportunity.

I’ve got scripts, novels, and short stories to write. I’ve got art to create. I’ve got books to read.

I readily admit that, up until about Thursday of last week, I spent more time playing Roller Coaster Tycoon than I did working on any of those projects.

Over the weekend, however, I started organizing those projects a little more. And, I started looking for opportunities to learn.

No, I’m not spending $5,000 on a writing course from one of the “experts” even with the thousand dollar “discount.” But, more and more the experts are offering some free training. Sometimes it’s an hour-long sales pitch, and I rarely finish those. But some are now seeing the value of offering some free content.

Just before I started writing this post, I finished the second session of a Script Mastery course. It’s good stuff. And hopefully it will make me a better writer. I’m also signed up for a few online webinars and summits ranging from writing to Santa Claus. Again, the hope is to learn and to get better at what I do.

There is also a strong realization that some of those things on my formerly crowded to-do list weren’t getting done because I really never wanted to do them in the first place.

That’s a bit of an eye-opener. This time of adversity is allowing us to consider what is really important

So we’ve got a choice.

We can whine and post all the memes about how difficult this is (please keep posting them because some are really funny).

Or we can see this as an opportunity to reassess and get to work on things that matter.

Which will you choose?


Cover Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash