So Long, Twenty One

Here we go again

We’re an impatient lot. One could hypothesise that the frantic race to get ahead in the game of modern capitalism has conditioned us that way. A once in a century pandemic comes along and we want it over with quick smart. Two years is way too long.

At the end of last year with fingers crossed we gladly farewelled 2020 and wishfully hoped that 2021 would return back to normal so we could go to work and to cafes and to sporting events without masks and without all the other rigmarole associated with disease control. But, the pesky ol’ epidemiologists were right, and along came delta, and now omicron.

Once again we are saying good riddance to bad rubbish. We are saying it to a year, a 365 day arbitrarily positioned measure of one lap of ol’ Earthy-poo around the good ol’ Sun.

Surely, 2022 has got to be better than 2021?

Oh dear. How poor and how short are our memories.

Take for example: 2016.

What do you mean? You ask. What about 2016?

We good riddanced that year. Don’t you remember? It was a shocker.

Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and wild weather blacking out the whole of South Australia. Britain voting to leave the EU and the US electing the pussy grabbing Donald Trump as President. Had the world gone mad?

Then the deaths.

David Bowie died in January, and we didn’t even know he was sick! And thus a long string of musicians and other well loved celebs starting dropping off their lofty perches. Muhammad Ali, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fischer, Alan Rickman, Fidel Castro, and Gene Wilder to name but just a few. Our mortality, it appeared, had never been so evident.

So Long, 2016, we sang with optimism in our hearts.

Ditto 2017, 18 and 19. Remember when Australia burned, smoke everywhere?

Then 2020. Say no more.

Are we hard wired to view every year which is about to end as an annus horribilis [Lizzy Windsor, 1992]? Are we simply drama queens? Catastrophising, sensationalising, conspiracy-theorising animals? Never satisfied, forever wanting?

Will we ever get to the end of a December and say, ‘Wow this year’s been a cracker. We should be grateful if next year is as half as good as this one’s been!’?

12 thoughts on “So Long, Twenty One

  1. What a jolly good bit of writing dear chap .I had a year to remember and i hope as you do that i can see the wondrous ness that each year offers me as the years pass by xxSent on the go with Vodafone

  2. It’s always like that. Mark Antony remarked on our capacity to focus on the worst in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” This thought became a rabbit hole I jumped into and found a number of references to our predilection to remember bad things over good. The Washington Post had this take:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/11/01/why-we-often-remember-bad-better-than-good/

    There’s lots more rabbit holes I found in my quick search.

    The Post article finishes with an upbeat conclusion:

    ‘“We think what happens with age is that younger people, because they have these long and nebulous futures, really need to collect a lot of information, and so they remember many things that will possibly help them mange those futures,” she said. “The older people get, the more they’re able to live in the present; and so, focusing on positive information makes that present feel good.”

    ‘Simply put: Older folks are better at living in the moment and enjoying what’s around them.’

    I am holding onto that thought for next year.

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