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Note #134: Hindsight (2020.12.31)

It’s probably a bit cliché at this point to say that 2020 was not the best of years. This time last year, on the cusp of 2020, I had no idea what was in store for us. Nobody did. We found out shortly after returning to Korea from visiting family in the US, though—and when I say “shortly” I mean that if I had arrived just a few days later I would have had to self-quarantine for two weeks before being able to return to campus.

Everyone has experienced the pandemic, though, and my situation was probably better than most, being able to work remotely as I was. We did have to deal with the aftermath of a fall HJ took while we were in the US, badly hurting her knee. Due to an improper diagnosis at a smaller hospital here, she did not get the surgery she needed until the summer. It kind of worked out well, though, because I was able to be home to take care of the housework, cooking, etc. while she was off her feet. She’s still recovering, but she’s fully mobile now and able to live more or less normally, or as normal as normal can be these days.

My original idea was to write a long post looking back on the year, but now that I sit down to do that I realize that I am ready to just move on, without dwelling on things any further. It wasn’t all bad, of course, and like I said above I had it better than most, but I’m just ready to be done with it. I’m not sure what awaits us in 2021—I am under no illusion that the pandemic situation is going to clear up any time soon, at least. This is too bad, because I have a sabbatical semester next spring, and we had plans to go abroad. That is obviously not happening now, but there is a silver lining, I suppose. Namely, I have a book project that really needs finishing, and if I remain in Korea I think I’m more likely to get the writing done. We do at least plan to leave Seoul and head to a remote corner of the country to find some peace and quiet; I’ve seen enough to know that staying around campus while on sabbatical is a surefire way to get all your time taken up with various things that people ask you to do.

If I believed in new year’s resolutions, I suppose this is where I would put them, but I don’t. I’ve always thought that new year’s resolutions were a bit silly. Don’t get me wrong; I understand the thinking behind them. The new year is a symbolic new start, and it makes sense to choose this as the time to turn over a new leaf. The problem with most resolutions is that they are more wishful thinking than actual, realistic expectations. They are things that people would like to do, but for which they have no real plan of action. And there’s also the matter of putting way too much weight on the new year. People pile all of this expectation on a very short period of time, making it that much more likely that they will be discouraged if they do not live up to their resolutions. This may be trite to say, but nothing ever gets done tomorrow. I am an inveterate procrastinator, but even I understand that if you want to do something, you just have to start, and the best time to do that is now. Don’t worry about how things might turn out or what might go wrong. You can deal with those issues if and when they happen. Just give it a start and then see what happens. But that’s just me. If new year’s resolutions work for you, more power to you!

I guess I don’t really have all that much else to say, except to hope that, wherever you might be, you are having a happy and healthy holiday season, and that the new year will bring you good fortune. I’m pretty sure most of us could use it.

Send me your thoughts.

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