The thing about being retired is that there are no mile markers. Shoot, I often even forget what day of the week it is. When one is gainfully employed, they're working for the weekend. Three or four-day holiday weekends are the best. Sure, Mondays suck, but there's always a reprieve just a few days away. This is a long-winded way of saying I don't really know what the heck happened in 2021. The days all run together. With Covid, my big outing is weekly grocery shopping.
When I was first working from home after Covid hit, I tried to summarize in a blog post the things I learned each week. So I'll try that for the year 2021.
- I learned that elected officials are incomprehensibly stupid. And power-mad. That's a bad combination. I learned that career bureaucrats easily fall in love with their images on a TV monitor and will spout any inane proclamation just to keep being invited back.
- I learned that it's possible to fall in love with a new pet, even after the agony of losing a long-time buddy. It took me a bit; I was hesitant to appear disloyal. But once we decided to adopt a new cat, we were determined not to leave the Humane Society empty-handed. Sasha (not her name then) leapt down from the cat tower and caressed my outstretched hand with her face, and I knew she was the one. I was used to a senior citizen cat and Sasha (nee Stuart Little, for some reason) was only about six months old. It was an adjustment, but not an entirely negative one. A somewhat exhausting one, nevertheless. Now she's a little over a year old and a bit more sedate (a bit). She likes to cuddle and she keeps my legs warm at night. We've settled into a routine and we would be lost without her.
- I relearned that two-year-old boys are endlessly fascinating. (It'd been a while, after all.) My two grandsons are little originals. And smart like only newly-budded minds can be. I'd long forgotten how fresh and new the world can seem. Ollie informed me he doesn't like certain types of peppers his dad grows in the garden, which was news to Dad. He also was endlessly fascinated when I swaddled his teddy bear, and made me repeat the procedure until he felt confident enough to try it himself. Asher giggles uncontrollably at a big rubber ball being rolled back and forth. "Ready?" he began repeating, after I said it about a hundred times, rolling it over and over back to me.
- I remembered that I actually like writing, but I'm not very ambitious. I found a writer I admire, in a TV interview, no less; and began reading snippets of his writing. My goal is to write as cleanly as he does. My proclivity has been to use too many modifiers, which in fact only exposes weak writing. If you have something to say, just say it. Perhaps my problem is, I don't have a whole lot to say. Regardless, I've begun revisiting a story I started a while back, and I'm trying to do better. I don't think I'll ever write another full-blown novel, but a novella is doable.
- I am somewhat of a The Office groupie. I don't know how many times I've watched the entire series, but I like watching a show that doesn't offend my overblown sense of discerning taste. That kind of whittles the choices. Network television honestly reeks. I've even experimented with watching shows from the eighties that I used to view religiously, and I wonder how desperate we the viewing audience was back then. There really are essentially two sitcoms in all of TV history that are seminal. The rest can go to hell. I leave it to you to fill in the blank for the second one. Because you probably have a different opinion from me -- even though your opinion would be wrong.
- I learned that today's country music is mostly really, really bad. I rather suspected that, but I did a couple of posts in which I reviewed the top ten hits of a given week; songs I had never in my life heard before, and...wow. I don't even know how to define the tracks I forced myself to listen to, but "country" is not a term that springs to mind. To be fair, a couple of them were not technically bad -- not good enough to download, but not hideous. There may be hope, after all, but I doubt it.
- I also learned that my musical prejudices may have been unfounded. If anyone asked me which decade was the worst for country music, "the seventies" would trip merrily off my tongue. The thing is, though, once I started creating Spotify playlists for the different decades, I found that my favorite one to listen to is from the decade of the seventies. How can that be? Has my whole musical life been a lie? Granted, I did cherry-pick the best of the best for my playlist, so there's that. I do like controlling my music.
- I learned that podcasting, while it seemed like a no-brainer, is actually a "brainer". I spent far too much time writing scripts and then recording them, and my estimated audience turned out to be (generously) two people (I think Anchor just didn't want me to feel bad.) I don't regret trying it. One has to try things.
It seems I didn't learn a ton of things in 2021. Quality trumps quantity, however. Every year has little milestones that might actually be big milestones. My life in 2021 wasn't bad, all things considered.
I don't know what 2022 will bring. Maybe I will become a world-renowned artist, or at least pick up my never-used art pencils and draw a picture. I could do that.
Or I could stream The Office again.