An Antedote to 2020

Well, well, well.  We all thought that would never happen.  The end of 2020.  What a year.  I suppose there’s someone out there who is thinking, “This was my best year ever!” but I can tell you this much – that person isn’t me.  Probably wasn’t you, either.

Whatever side of the aisle you’re on, politics are mean.  Playground name-calling mean. 

Somehow science got political instead of a thing you could prove in a lab and is now just one more thing to argue about. 

People are heading to soup kitchens in numbers not seen since the Great Depression.  The stock market is doing well, but that doesn’t much matter to hungry children.

My son went off to college, and even though I have to admit I enjoyed taking over his room as my office and it is hard to quantify the pride I feel for his accomplishments, I miss his hugs every single day.

The pandemic rages on.  There’s a vaccine, hallelujah, but there’s also more than 300,000 dead Americans and creeping on two million dead worldwide and that number isn’t going to stop increasing any time soon.  I haven’t had a haircut since March or a regular restaurant meal with friends because I don’t want to be in that number.  I tip the Door Dashers extra big.

My Mom died this year, and I know how sad that made me.  She died of lung cancer after a lifetime of smoking which was, as lawyers say, a natural and probable consequence of her actions but it didn’t make me cry any less.  I think of the 300,000 extra funerals that happened this year, most of which were not the natural and probably consequences of anyone’s actions, and it simply paralyzes me.  That’s a lot of grief.

I do a lot of probate work as a lawyer, so my business is thriving.  This makes me feel like a vulture.  I hate it.

Menopausal hormones are not helping.

Normally, when/if you read my columns, you expect something silly and something to laugh at.  Hold on a minute  I’m getting to that.

So what are we supposed to do? 

One very tempting option is to walk around feeling the weight of the world.  Or not walk around.  Go to bed.  Pull up the covers.  Wake me when it’s over. 

I know a lot of folks who have found comfort in the bottom of a bourbon bottle.  There’s some temporary relief there, maybe, but it isn’t a long term solution, and for some folks it creates a host of new problems to solve.

So here’s what I think you should do: laugh.  Find yourself something funny and laugh at it.  Watch a funny movie.  Read a funny book.  (Mine, perhaps?)  There’s tons of comedians out there who are finding creative ways to entertain you while you stay at home safely.  Many of them are my friends, and I encourage them to post links to their entertaining efforts in the comments.  Laughing is the biggest eff you to tragedy out there.  Laughing releases endorphins, which are chemicals that makes your brain feel good.  Laughing is the ultimate form of mindfulness.  When you are laughing, you can’t think of anything else except what you are laughing at.  Try it.  I double-dog dare you.  Triple even. 

I’m grateful to the front-line health care workers who are knocking themselves out doing overtime and exposing themselves to disease and tragedy in an effort to save the lives of people who sometimes have made only minimal effort to keep themselves healthy.  Their jobs are made infinitely more difficult by our own hubris.  If you feel up to it, drop off a fruit basket or some cookies or even a thank you card so they know they’re appreciated.  Those people are keeping us alive.

But I’m also grateful for the entertainers who keep showing us that even when there are this many clouds in the sky, there is also beauty.  Keep on showing us art, please.  Tell us lovely stories that sweep us away from reality.  Show me gorgeous sunsets and colorful paintings.  And most of all, make me laugh. 

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com, on Twitter, or on Facebook.   Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.

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