So 2020 has been a long year, eh?

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I’d be embarrassed if I actually looked at the date on the post right before this, so …. I’m not going to look.

And that, my friends, is 2020 in a nutshell! Ha!

As I continue my orbits around the sun, I go back and forth about the purpose of my blog. Why do I write? Why would someone else read it? Does it matter if they do?

Apologies for this post being a bit navel-gazey, but surely 2020 gives me that right, at least for a post. 🙂

The good of 2020

While I’m being reflective, I want to be honest about some good effects the ‘Rona life has had on me personally, and think over the growth I’ve experienced in the past year. It’s not all pandemic-related, but at this point, who can untangle the effects of the dread virus from anything else?

I count myself incredibly lucky that I was already working a remote job (home office) before everything blew apart. This is the very definition of privilege: a white-collar job in a professional field; a bit of discretionary income to throw toward meal delivery from time to time; the ability to limit my potential exposure to the virus. The list goes on and on.

Perhaps being more aware of privilege is its own blessed outcome of such a shitty year. (I also took a cultural diversity course this summer as part of my doctoral work and read some great books, so credit where it’s due.) But I’m thankful — grateful that I’m more aware of how my life is structured, and the effects of my living on those around me (like the guys who drive the FedEx or UPS trucks that delivered so many packages to our house this year). I want to work for an America where we care about all types of employees, not just the privileged ones.

I’ve cut out a lot of extra pfaff this year too. I don’t love the narrowed cone of options, if I’m being honest, but I’ve also gotten more sleep this year than I did last year (except for the times of intense work / anxiety tied to spikes in Covid-19 impact, which then affected my experience at work). Again, not complaining. I am not sure I want to go back to a life of having something to do 4-5 nights out of each week when instead there is a nice rhythm here of work all day, read or watch or play at night, see (cautious, quarantining, socially-distanced) friends on weekends.

I’ve realized that I don’t need 29487564737 things going on to be content. I’m also trying to break my very bad habit of buying things because I think I need them. Haven’t really succeeded, but I’ve made some progress.

Ironically, I’m also thankful for the utter shitshow that was the 2020 Trump / GOP circus and the alignment of Evangelical leaders with the xenophophobia, racism, and sexism of the Trump regime. Good. Now the masks are off and we know what ugliness lies beneath. Leaving Evangelicalism in 2016 is the best thing that could have happened; I am happily within the household of Christianity without having any association with churches who have lost their minds and their understanding of the Gospel. I probably should add to my Exvangelical series; I’ll see what brain space I’ve got over the next few weeks.

In other good things, I have to call out my journey through the EdD program at Converse. It’s been hard and my dissertation still feels like a mess. I sometimes wake up and think, “There’s no way I’m going to pull this off.” But — truth is, it’s doable. I can do this. And my classmates are some of the best people. I am blessed to have experienced such great faculty and classmates during yet another round of coursework.

I’d also say that personally, despite the mental wear and tear of pandemic living, I’m more satisfied with my personal growth than I have been in a long time. I feel like I’m at home in my own skin (though I’d like to lose some weight and reduce it a bit— ha!)

The bad of 2020

Can we all agree that Americans have proven that our culture of individualism and “me first” and “get rich, live the American dream” is bankrupt? I’m not going to pull out that rant right now. Just posting here for posterity.

Obviously it sucks not to see friends or family. We canceled Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws because of Covid fears. So many people’s lives upheaved and businesses closed.

Also, why am I not writing? Great question. I think it stems from two factors: First, most of my writing energy has gone into my dissertation (or papers for courses). The part of my brain that usually generates energy for creativity (game design, graphic design, cooking) or writing has been totally absorbed with reading articles about relational leadership theory and the knowledge cycle and improving STEM teaching practices. Second, the quiet effects of coronavirus are very real. The anxiety about the pandemic, about its effect on people I love or on our finances (or whatever) — those effects are real.

Although I just referenced my disillusionment with Evangelical Christianity above, it truly makes me sad to see people I respect stuck in a movement that feels like their only available option when really that movement has abandoned the heart of the Gospel. I stand by those words. Individual churches and people might be great, but as a whole, Evangelical Christianity in America has completely lost its soul. How do we come back from that?

And how do we heal as a nation? What does that even mean when 70 million people went to the voting precinct to pull the lever for a man who is so utterly morally bankrupt, anyone should be able to see this? I’m not here to make this a political blog, but …. I literally cannot understand.

2021 is going to open with my circle of friends much smaller than it was a few years ago. Very few of those changes were initiated by me; conservative Christianity is quite tribal, and if you aren’t in, you are most certainly OUT. So I guess I’m OUT. Not my favorite part of 2020, but it is what it is.

Moving on….

I do want to start writing again, so we’ll see what emerges from the dust of this year.

I hope you and yours find peace and joy at the of this weird year.

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