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  • Writer's pictureKara San

Capsule 2020

I did intend to have this up before New Year's, but time is arbitrary, I've been busy adjusting to my new job (which now involves actually having to travel to work on most days), and I'm also just great at procrastinating. Anyway, I thought I'd do a combined wrap-up for December and the hellscape of 2020 as a whole.

A quote that stuck with me was one that arrived in my inbox thanks to my daily email subscription to Poetry Foundation: “We say, put down your papers, your tools of coercion, your false promises, your posture of superiority and sit with us before the fire. We will share food, songs, and stories. We will gather beneath starlight and dance, and rise together at sunrise.” - Joy Harjo, "Conflict Resolution"

I didn't finish as many books in December, funnily enough, since I'd expected having back my commute time would mean being able to read more. I completely forgot the fact that I'm generally used to lone lunches at my desk at my previous workplace, which accounted for about 40 minutes of reading time on a good day. Anyway, here are the books I managed to finish in December:

  1. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

  2. The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon

  3. Persuasion

  4. A Deadly Education

I'm currently reading Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey on the Libby app on my phone and, so far so good.

There isn't a lot to look back on for a year when so much happened yet a lot of our lives were forced to a standstill. I read a lot more than I ever had before; not just published books, but articles, magazines, blogs, newsletters, things on AO3. The books I read this year, overall, didn't give me the same sense of satisfaction and fulfilment that the books I'd read in 2019 did. Or maybe the feeling of being stuck in a time loop thanks to this pandemic has just made me weary; I'm getting older but nothing around me has changed much, because it's all out of my control.

Here are the few changes I could control: I started listening to more podcasts, I picked up digital art, I got a new job that -- for the time being -- doesn't have me waking up every morning thinking, "I would literally rather die." Who knows, maybe I'll reach that stage again in a few months' time, but for now I'm grateful.

As I get older, every new year just doesn't feel like a new year. My first few minutes of 2021, I'd just stepped out of the shower and was setting up my laptop to watch a show with my sister before bed. Nothing's changed. We're still dealing with a pandemic. The world at large doesn't have to change itself to accommodate arbitrary time markers constructed by humans.

If anything, 2020 has taught me maybe I don't need to make plans or force myself to think up new year's resolutions of any sort, because so many things are out of our control. I'll just take this year one day at a time and hopefully come out of it not-miserable. Also, I would very much like to get out of the country even if it's just to visit my relatives in Myanmar as opposed to travelling somewhere new and exciting.

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