• G. Smith

The end of 2020 is near

Another year is almost over. And what a year it was! Well, it still is. And nothing much will really change on January 1st. I mean, COVID sure doesn't care about the new year. Still. It's almost over. Let's think back for a bit.


There are certain years in our lives that become landmarks. We clearly remember if something happened before, during or after them. 2020 will become such a landmark year for a lot of people. I know it will for me. Despite all the strangeness and the staying at home and all those dreadful deaths, 2020 wasn't the worst year I ever had. It wouldn't even make my personal Top 5. Oh, I've had way worse years, personally. And it really wasn't all bad either. Lots of good things happened this year, and I want to dedicate this blog post to them. Well, to a small selection anyway.


Let's start with a big one: A lot of companies suddenly realized that it's the 21st century and people can work from home. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but there are many who have been trying to convince their employers of this for a long time. The infrastructure is there now. I'm confident that some companies will keep working from home on the table after the pandemic is over. And that might really improve some people's lives.


There's also some newly found appreciation of certain jobs, which was long overdue. We suddenly realized that grocery cashiers are essential. Who'd have thought? And maybe, just maybe, all those overworked doctors and nurses will finally be heard when they complain about their bad working environments. One can only hope.


The Black Lives Matter movement was heard as well. It's unfortunate that the pandemic got in the way of those protests, as they are so damn important and will hopefully continue to be seen afterwards. Maybe they'll someday stop being necessary. Right now, systemic racism and police brutality are huge problems, not just in the United States. Something needs to change. And sooner rather than later.


On a more personal level, I have to say that I welcome what COVID has done to some of the US late night shows. We've seen professionals like Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel in a more personal light. I actually prefer Trevor Noah's Daily Social Distancing Show to what he does in the studio. John Oliver has continued to deliver his usual concentrated delight without much visible change. From what I can see on Youtube, the pandemic hasn't hurt these people's professionalism one bit. It has made them appear more human though.


2020 sure was a weird year for entertainment in general. With all those movies that got postponed, I've completely lost track of new releases. The year really started out strong for cinema though! I've only gone to the movies four times this year (as opposed to 29 times in 2019 and 41 times in 2018), but those four movies were really good! I watched "Knives out" (great!), "Jojo Rabbit" (also great!), "The Peanutbutter Falcon" (surprisingly great!) and "Jumanji: The next level" (also damn enjoyable). And that was mostly in January! I've got them all on my DVD shelf by now.


I also found some long-overdue time for reading. I've become a slow (or rather unmotivated) reader over the years, which is a shame. This year, however, I got through a couple of books. I finished Jonas Jonasson's "Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann". A bit too much history for my taste, but an otherwise fun read. I also read Uwe Sielert's "Einführung in die Sexualpädagogik", which mostly just taught me that my views were up to date. I moved on to Edward Snowden's "Permanent record", which really positively surprised me with its wit and accessibility. The last book I read this year was Robert Galbraith's (a.k.a. J. K. Rowling's) "Troubled blood", which was a bit long but definitely at no point transphobic, as some people have claimed. There's not a single trans-person even mentioned in the book. It's quite ridiculous. I also read some of the "Injustice: God's among us" comics which were surprisingly timely and well written (or at least the first one was). All in all, a good year for reading. I'm glad I finally took the time!


I also took on some gaming this year. I've always liked video games, but played rather few over the last two decades. So I bought over 100 games on Steam this year and had a lot of fun experiencing different genres and discovering some real creative gems. I played a couple of old games I'd been wanting to try for decades, like "Tomb Raider" (okay, I still haven't finished that one) or "The longest journey". I discovered the amazing "Rusty Lakes" franchise, as well as "Among us", "There is no game", "The night of the rabbit", "The Room" or "The Jackbox Party Packs". And obviously many more. It was a good year for gaming. I hadn't done this since I was a teen. And through the miracle of modern technology, I shared a good portion of it with my friends, which just makes every game a lot better.


By the way, Trump also lost the election this year, even though he tried his very best to sabotage democracy in the US. I wish Bernie Sanders was the new president-elect, but I guess the world will have to make due with Joe Biden. I'm pretty sure he can do better than Mr. "person, woman, man, camera, titties".


Last but not least, this was a rather productive year for me.


I spent a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time and energy on my book. It's far from finished, because, I'll be honest, I kinda ran out of motivation and energy a couple of weeks ago. Still, I got so much done! I found some amazing artists and I designed more than a quarter of the pages. They look great so far! This project will obviously carry on into 2021, but that's fine. I did good. And I'll get it done once I've recharged my batteries a bit (figuratively).


I've also worked on a board game, which I haven't really had much opportunity to test yet. There are still some kinks to be dealt with, but it's looking pretty good so far. I created a card game too. That one is pretty much finished, but needs some further testing as well. I hope I'll be able to present both of these prototypes to a publishing company at some point next year. Seeing them in stores would be amazing!


Then of course I wrote some new poems and posted them on my Facebook page, as I tend to do. They are few and in between this year because other projects took up a lot of my time, but they are there and you can read them.


And then I've also written two new songs! It's been years since my last demo record, so this is huge for me. I'm proud of the way they turned out. Especially the video clips. I've been listening to "Between your legs and in your arms" a lot, and I just love when the chorus kicks in. Sure, the whole thing sounds far from perfect – but it is an improvement over most of my past work, and I Got. It. Done.


That's my 2020. Lots to be thankful for. See you in 2021!



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