I’ve had two conversations recently that have, independently of each other, been about the same thing: namely, the idea that 2021 isn’t any easier than last year, but may in fact be harder — but that our inability as a culture to accept that is something that’s ultimately going to leave us in a far worse position than we were last year.
It is, perhaps, a strange idea to echo between people entirely unrelated of each other. But it’s not an entirely alien one, I have to admit; this year has been considerably worse for me than I’d imagined going in, and I wasn’t the most enthusiastic of people at the start of it all. (There was, after all, a pandemic and disaster all around to deal with at the time, never mind the potential for political disaster in the dying days of the Trump presidency.)
Nevertheless, the year has been a curious mix of things going wrong — or, at least, not to plan, which isn’t quite the same thing, even if they can feel similar at the time — with occasional bursts of potential good news that, judging by the evidence to date, is more likely to fade into insignificance or disappear entirely than come to fruition. It’s something that, I know, should feel far more crushing than it actually does. But perhaps that’s the wrong attitude to have?
Then again, I’m not sure what the right attitude would be: feeling worse about things? Surrendering to the bad news and expecting more at any given opportunity? Those both seem like unhealthy options, even though I’m sure that pessimists would think that my optimism is closer to ignorance if not outright denial, and look similarly down their noses at the very notion.
The truth of the matter is, this year is harder than last year, with COVID on an upswing and my career prospects stagnant if not downright dying. It’s been rough, and I’m sure rougher is on the way before things change. But I have to hope that things will get better at some time. What else can I do?