A farewell to 2020 …

Odds are I’m not the first to observe that the year 2021 is slated to begin a few days hence. For pedants, that’s the real debut of the decade. Either way, I know I am but one of billions hoping 2021 will prove boring in comparison to 2020.

2020 has been a year of, shall we say, surprises: murder hornets, elections and election challenges (and not just in the United States), COVID-19 and all its consequences, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, protests (some that turned dangerous), social issues, border crises, flooding, explosions, recession, unemployment, record heat, travel restrictions, record cold, a mysterious desert monolith in my home state of Utah …

… and just as we began to breathe a sigh of relief with January in our sights, along came venomous snake-infested sea foam rolling in over eastern Australian shores. For a more complete list of natural disasters, see Scientific American’s “A Running List of Record-Breaking Natural Disasters in 2020.” For a review of the year in financial matters, I commend you to Finextra’s Year in Review.

As the new year dawns, not a few of us will engage in the quaint, often well-intended, but futile exercise known as making New Years Resolutions. Year after year, the most popular resolutions have to do with weight loss, budgeting, and exercise.

Need help coming up with a resolution? A host of publications offer suggestions:

  • Parade leads with “focus on a passion, not on the way you look.” (What if you’re passionate about the way you look?)
  • Recommendation 56 out of 56 from Good Housekeeping is “make your home more fragrant.” (That would have been the ideal issue for a candle marketer ad.)
  • CountryLiving would have you “write snail mail.” (Anyone remember what that is?)
  • Lifehack’s number 25 out of 50 suggests, “Volunteer and give more to charity.” (I have nothing snarky to say about that one. It’s a great idea.)

The more cynical might enjoy this loophole-laden “solemnly professed” resolution from Ambrose Bierce’s The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary, “suitably tempered so as not to place … goals for self-improvement beyond reach”:

I do hereby firmly resolve that during one year from date I will not drink any spirituous, vinous or malt liquors of any kind whatsoever, except in case I may think it would be a good thing to temporarily suspend this pledge. I will not utter a profane word—unless in sport—without having been previously vexed at something. I will make use of no tobacco in any of its forms, unless I think it would be kind of nice. I will not steal no more than I have actual use for. I will murder no one that does not offend me, except for his money. I will commit highway robbery upon none but small school children, and then only under the stimulus of present or prospective hunger. I will not bear false witness against my neighbor when nothing is to be made by it. I will be as moral and religious as the law shall compel me to be. I will run away with no man’s wife without her full and free consent, and never, no never, so help me heaven! will I take his children along. I won’t write any wicked slanders against anybody, unless by refraining I should sacrifice a good joke. I won’t whip any cripples, unless they come fooling about me when I am busy; and I will give all my roommates’ boots to the poor.

My best wishes to you. See you in 2021.

Comments are closed.