Well 2020–haven’t you been filled with some “STUFF” so far…
When people ask me how I am doing with all that is going on in this world, my response is pretty simple, “Living the Dream, in the 2020 nightmare.” In some aspects of life, this is true, but not totally a horrible year. Life is what we make it, and sometimes that means changes happen–some that can and some that can not be controlled or helped. Some of these changes are good, indifferent, and a few not so good.
This is life.
2020 has come with a lot of change, learning, and growth. This year has me realizing that opinions easily separate people, politics are evil, and faith runs thin in many aspects. Churches closed for a while, and movie theaters are potentially going extinct, schools learned to grasp virtual learning. Sadly, COVID-19 distanced people from one another.
Hate still runs deep in our society–separation based on race, age, gender, and sexual orientation remains visible. In the past eight months of 2020, I have heard people refer to me as a “faggot!” Serving as proof that people are still judgemental, people even hate and think it is okay to be cruel.
The concept of wearing a mask–whether or not one should have created a barrier among people. My opinion is this–it is your choice on what you do. I do offer this consideration when deciding on a mask or not–Someone you love may have a higher risk of contracting an illness, regardless of whether it is COVID or the flu. Hence, if you aren’t concerned about yourself, at least think about those you love and those who suffer, as I do from lung issues.
Last week I returned to my office to pick up some documents, and my desk calendar showed, “March 16, 2020,” which was the last day that I worked in my standard setting. My routine was yelling next door to Linda, seeing my office filled with students, laughter, tears, etc. Being able to walk the halls and say hey, stop to chat, etc.
Leaving that day, I never expected that some six months later that I would still be adjusting to the new norm–and I have become more fully conformed to working from home. I have watched co-workers grow professionally, return to life after a hard battle with cancer, and the staff really stay connected–despite the distance placed on each one of us!
2020 has also had some great moments, such as being selected to be on The Weather Channel show, “Storm of Suspicion,” which will be airing in early 2021.
I have made more improvements in my home, including new floors, new shutters, new lighting, and working on completing the “farmhouse” look.
COVID-19 impacted me through a more restricted living–but I decided that COVID-19 would NOT let me stop living–after all none of us know when our time is up!
I was able to return to masses before most people as a pianist, and I was able to regain the faith that was waning at times.
My Ph.D. goal is closer to being completed–I gained approval on Chapters 1-3. All my research complete, so now, chapters 4 and 5 will be the last of my writing. Then on to proofing, editing, dean approval, and defense. Then off to publication.
Will I get to wear my fancy doctoral robe at a commencement? No, because of no in-person commencement events, but rest assured that I have bought it, and I will wear it once I have the confirmation before the end of 2020 that I am can officially call myself, Dr. Nicholas Palisch. Maybe 2021 will be my next chapter–law school.
I have developed new friendships, strengthened others, and even made a choice to end others. I found my happy places in life–snow cones, shopping, and living.
Law and Order SVU, Golden Girls, Netflix, and Criminal Minds have filled my TV time. I have boycotted most media because it was not healthy for me. I limited my post on social media. I continued to grow my weather page.
Work despite being from home has been busy. I have a great group of individuals who helped accomplish a lot of great things, including publications, a recognition program, new and enhanced things that will only make things better. I took a pay cut due to budget issues at work, but I still work hard.
2020 also marked the end of a relationship—a marriage. After nearly ten years, my spouse and I decided that it was time to move on and do so with peace. People fall out of love, and sometimes it cannot be controlled. Sometimes the directions of our lives change with or without intention. People outgrow one another. Perhaps he could not handle my health situation. I know, most people, decent people who are, would stick it out and be the number one caregiver–instead, I found unsuspecting people who stepped into that role of being a caregiver when I needed them.
Divorce brings a plethora of emotions, and I have been through them all–but at the end of the day, I have found inner and external peace in knowing this is truly the best for both of us. I am keeping the house, and the corgis–he gets Oscar the cat. I know he will take care of him. I am at peace with it all–There is a sense of sadness that after nine years and ten months that our relationship is over. But, in reality, and the bigger picture, it has been over a lot longer. We had some great memories, and those are the memories that I am choosing to remember going forward. I wish him the best and hope that he does the same for me.
I found out that other higher education institutions were/are interested in me and my skill sets for employment to advance my career. Still, I decided to stay where I am the best decision I could make at this point.
I have watched friends become doctors, and friends welcome babies into the world. I have married a few people in 2020, and I am going to be decorating Christmas trees at a retail store this fall.
In the end, 2020 might not be how you or I pictured it going. I don’t think any of us set out to face a pandemic, more riots, and a regression inequality. I don’t think we plan for all the unknowns of life, but how can we? It is unpredictable.
My health exists. I faced the reality that I will NEVER live a life free from cancer. I realize that one domino out of place that falls–my life will be over. I know that people will continue to leave my life, and new people will come into it. I am one who builds and invests all I am into things and people, and sometimes I wonder why I do that? Because I have watched people easily move on–no emotion, no hesitation, no looking back. I passed up on things because some people/things were more important than my own life.
We write our own story with the help of God, our father. He already knows the story–we are essentially tracing over the letters in the book of life. We are just an instrument, and he is our guide–and that is where I will leave my life–in the palm of his hands.
One thing I know for sure is that I will continue to live. I will continue to achieve goals–some big, some small. I will cherish moments that I don’t are moments until they are over. I remain hopeful that I will find that person who will be the love that I need in life and will add to my happiness–I will not seek it–I will not be bound by time or circumstance.
I will choose to continue to live until the quality of a prosperous life is absent.
I will seek out opportunities to improve my life in many aspects. I know my talent. I know my abilities. I know my faith. I know me–Adversity and roadblocks are just minor distractions that can help us gain greater things in life.
Is the year 2020 ideal? No, but it continues to teach me that no matter what, I have to keep going. I have to live. I have to pursue things. I have to find hope in people and find the silver lining that exists. I have to learn to rediscover who I am and what I want for the rest of my life. If COVID takes me out–then know this–I NEVER stopped living. I kept pushing onward.
My only advice to others is this. Each year we are faced with new things, and while it is easy to succumb to current circumstances–that is not the only choice–we have the opportunity to learn from these moments and STRIVE to be a BETTER person. We must go back to the song in Catholic school that said it all…” I am going to let my light shine for all the world to see. This little light of mine…”
Be the light today and for all the tomorrows to follow.
You will see the changes in your life and others.
Now, the task at hand is to push through the end of 2020 and conquer the day. MY light will stay shining and yours should too!
And that is in Black and White….