State of the Yu-nion: 2021 in Review
The end of this year, for me, does not feel triumphant. Instead of celebrating, or feeling like I’m writing “we did it” in my best friend’s yearbook, it feels like I’m sitting in a coffee shop and whispering “please stop” to the toddler screaming and climbing on the furniture while their dad, with glazed eyes, reads from their iPad.
Oh, happy holidays, by the way.
This is my attempt to write down and catalogue all the things that happened to me this year, to hopefully try and make sense of it all.
I’ve already written about the car accident, so I won’t rehash it. What I will say is this: having a car accident dominate three months of your life is not romantic. You can’t wax poetic about the outer panel of a rear door. The crash was awful, and the repair process was so incompetent and frustrating that I still have a fire-breathing, scorched earth, Omega Karen yelp review drafted and revised.
The only reason I’m not posting it is because my mom is convinced they’ll sue me, or find my car via my address and cut my break lines. To any parents reading: if you’re not careful, you’ll pass along anxiety along to your child.
Now, I’m slightly removed from the accident. Looking back at it, I wish I could say that it made me a stronger person. I wish I could say anything positive about it.
TW: utter sadness.
I came out of this worse. I’m more scared to drive now. And not only that, it feels like I’m less observant, like it’s harder to focus while I’m in the car.
Trust me, I’m racking my brain for a different angle, or a positive spin, anything so that I can stop moping and start speaking with the passionate warmth of a teacher giving a TED Talk, but I’m coming up empty.
Is this all life is? (Sorry, sometimes I confuse writing in a text editor and talking with god) This feeling of having a tin bucket taped to your hands, being kicked outside in the rain, and then helplessly catching more and more water until your arms collapse under its weight?
I’ve been unemployed since July. Every day since then, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my life. In case you’re wondering, this is not a fun activity. I’m pretty sure “construct entire life plan” isn’t making it on any Trip Advisor lists.
This is going to sound unrelated at first, but in college I took a class with an incredible English professor. One day, when we were talking about the social climate in the US, she keenly said, “something big is about to happen, can’t you feel it?”
This was in 2015, and next year, bam, the election.
Now I’m not a professor, and perhaps the most impressive accolade I have is the amount of Chipotle rewards points I’ve accumulated, but I feel like something big is about to happen. This time, about labor in the US.
I don’t know anyone my age that likes their job. Sure, you might say that that’s just being young, but here’s what I’d respond with: First of all, thanks for reading mom and dad. And second of all, I am pleading with you to consider, for a second, that there might be some legitimacy to this claim, that there might be something wrong with how the world is currently organized. I’d like to, if possible, avoid squeezing my blood into a machine where the gears aren’t even touching.
Third of all, thanks for buying me Airpods for Christmas.
I don’t like pretending that COVID is over. And yes, I do realize that this entire post feels like if Depression came out with a “Best Of” album.
I don’t like evaluating whether or not an outdoor coffee is worth risking my life, or endangering the people I care about. I have not acclimated to constantly doing this type of risk-assessment.
Thinking about that every time you walk into a grocery store is not fun. Taking shallow breaths as you walk past unmasked people is not fun. Tragically, staying inside is not fun. It’s like if god found all the people being introverted, and forced them to smoke the whole pack, you know?
I have made a decision. No new year’s resolutions. It’s not as catchy as no new taxes, but I promise my version won’t slowly chip away at the foundations of western democracy.
Okay, I just heard myself, it’s time to wrap this up.
In the past, I’ve tried fixating on getting a new job. That doesn’t work. All that does is force my brain to run on overdrive, to be on in the background, 24/7, constantly searching for the answer like I’m mining for bitcoin.
Here is my simple goal for next year. I’m going to try and be kind. That’s it. And I’m not even saying that it’s easy–have you ever been cut off in a Costco parking lot? If that happens to me one more time, I might have my own John Wick origin story.
Focusing on things I can’t control just makes me miserable. So I’m just going to try and be a decent human being. To be a good significant other. To try and say please and thank you when I can, and to not endanger anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of this is privileged, and I promise that I’m trying to use it for good.
Please stay safe, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next year.
P.S. Sometimes people read these and type compliments in the replies, which is very kind, but is not what I want. Strangely enough, I’ve already gotten what I want–being able to write it all down is enough.
P.P.S. This does not apply when I get a new haircut and post a picture of it.