2020 has come and gone, and having a ‘writer’s disposition,’ you would think I would have written more about it.
I am filled with a deep unease, or yielding failure, about this past year. So much unearthed, and so much to cherish and yet to mourn and rage. I think many of us – especially among creative ilk – felt a pressure at our necks that somehow, someway, we needed to ‘document’ this unholy year and the trials and tribulations within. History was being made, and history was to be recorded!
But I think this urgency collectively felt might just have been a surfeit symptom of the enormous amount of social engineering pushing us to ‘produce’ as the world tumults around us – perhaps intentional, or perhaps an unfortunate effect of capitalism. Whose to say?!
In conclusion: there should be no rush to conclude the year that was, or even try to sift through that shit. We’re still covered in it, and it will pervade through our house for years to come. (The Roomba will not cut it this time. )
There is a great benefit in languishing with it. Letting it sit with you. Letting it all just be for a time. And THEN sifting it, portioning it, and divining its meaning.
This is where I’m at. Languishing, letting it be without too much recalcitrant analysis and trying not to feel guilty about it.
And then, a recalibration occurs to me: Rather than muse about 2020, perhaps we should ruminate on the year 2100.
Why this year?
I will surely not be alive. My children will be 87 and 82, if they should be so lucky. But their children, my future hypothetical grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, will be in the primes of their lives.
What will this world of 2100 be like for them? What are we building for them?
What are we leaving them?
I wonder what legacies will grow fruit and which will wither away in the sands of time. These persistent sands that will eventually come for us all, without care or concern about how we lived or what we achieved.
It’s easy to be short-sighted. Sometimes, during survival-mode, it’s necessary. But I am often consumed with what it is that our society is building to hand off to those distant generations and whether or not it will serve them well. These people not yet born; some I may meet, and others I will surely not.
Some might say we owe them nothing. I would say we owe them everything.
Nothing in this world is meant to remain fixed. Everything is born to change; born to die. My house will someday not exist. All of my possessions; the people I love, the thoughts that bounce around in my brain in the dark; which pen or book or movie or theorem on life I prefer, it will all leave or decompose one way or another.
Sometimes I scroll the news and cannot fathom how we make the decisions we do. You could argue some of these folks are trying to build a legacy to pass on to their forebears, but I just see a short-term, shallow win for the individual living it. Those who are singly focused on self-preservation, and individual freedom, and not whole-preservation and freedom of all. A victory for the present, but not for the future.
I fathom that building for the future of 2100 requires us to let go of short-term preservation techniques and think in larger terms. Much larger terms. Terms that we may not even be familiar with, as the generations before us didn’t really tread this water.
I hope we are soft with ourselves in 2021, and all of our revelations-come-to-light that have occurred in 2020, but …we must also persist. We have a duty to keep going, and to keep building. To keep pushing and breaking the boxes. Voices are rising, voices that were never at the forefront before but should have been for millennia. We can’t stop now.
There are great things ahead that are worth it. I hope we can see that, and I hope those among us who usher in 2100 can ‘cheers’ us from their future edifice, and look fondly on the conceptual legacy we worked for, because they will have 2200 to think about and no time to fix our mistakes.*
Much love, internet friends, and happy 2021 ❤
My resolution? I am hoping to write here, in this space, much much more – and not feel guilty if life happens and I don’t. Because it will only lead to a better story, right?