Happy New Year?

Like most parents and smaller human beings who attended some sort of school in their lifetimes, I have always considered the beginning of the school year the actual “New Year” rather than when the calendar turns to January. That used to be because it was a natural new beginning–new grade, new books with new chapters. New attitude. The next step forward.

Today, it might be because an early exit of 2020 is at the top of my Amazon wish list along with paper towel and a chest freezer.

So Happy New Year, Friend! Let’s put an in memoriam montage together for this fresh circle of hell so we can get back to the good stuff.

Our phases of quarantine probably look fairly similar no matter where you live in the world. We started in the Tiger King period–which was about neither Tigers nor Kings, discuss–moved into Artisanal Bread Baking–until the only bacteria we were suddenly short on was yeast–Jigsaw Puzzles And Other Boring 19th Century Crafts and Hobbies You Took Odd Pride in Mastering, and finally we settled into Futile Suburban Homesteading and Husband Husbandry.

We’ve asked–yet never answered–unimaginable questions like, “Can you make hand sanitizer in an Insta-Pot?” “How can I have a negative step count today?” “Do I wash masks on Delicates or Permanent Press?” “Who is hoarding all the ramen and creamed corn? And why?” “Are my pajama pants visible in this Zoom frame?” “What’s a murder hornet?”

However as much as we’ve given up, we’ve gained new things that we never anticipated as well. We have a Home Pandemic Supply basket. I have a favorite face mask. There’s a Covid emoji. I have intimate and immediate knowledge of Covid-19 practices for every store, restaurant, business, LLC, charitable organization, and recipe in my entire Internet browsing history since 1994. And perhaps Corona’s greatest gift, curbside pickup at Liquor stores.

And while we might exchange a knowing chuckle online reading this behind wisps of uncut hair with chin-length roots lamenting about things we couldn’t fathom mere months ago, I suppose it’s because mourning all of what and whom we’ve lost is much, much harder. From losses small and great, they are all cruel and unyielding. The grief we’ve had to share seems even deeper when it comes 6 or more feet apart.

It’s definitely time for a reboot. I’m not sure if this new start date will take or not, but it’s certainly worth a try. Maybe in this phase, September 1 will become the new January 1st. I’m doing my part by adopting quarantine weight-loss resolutions and sporting a hefty hangover to ring in 2020.5 accordingly.

Let’s do this thing together.

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