If I had to choose a word to describe how I feel about 2020, I would say fortunate. Though I am sad to have lost loved ones I will never see again (two cousins, a beloved husband of a good friend), for the most part, I have been fortunate. Instead of feeling restless and frustrated, I feel gratitude. Grateful that I have a place to live, an income (pension, investments, social security), a family, friends, health, a sense of purpose.
My sense of purpose is mainly to take care of my mom. It doesn't take much. I just make sure that she takes her meds, has clean clothes, and has snacks and food that she likes (and are healthy enough). She makes her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast every morning. When my daughter was my dependent, she was my focus. Now that she is an adult, I have to realize she has her own life to live. I can love, encourage and support her in whatever ways I can, but she is independent, unlike my mom.
I am healthy. I walk around my neighborhood every morning. I have an open lanai with a view of the coastline 12oo feet or so below, where I drink my coffee, read my paper, and do my crossword every morning. Up until a few days ago before the most recent eruption, I could see Maui in the distance, We have fruit trees and flowering plants in our yard that attract all kinds of flying creatures - birds, bees, butterflies - and provide us with seasonal fruit.
I have a subscription to Fender Play to learn to play guitar, Hookpad to write songs using their platform, and Skillshare mainly for art. I also have purchased a few art courses from Domestika, another online learning platform. I subscribe to Playwright Submissions Helper and Medium. I listen to a LOT of podcasts. Whenever I don't know what to do with myself, I pick up my guitar, as the only way to get better is to practice. I am never at a loss for things to do, I am never bored.
I felt strongly that we needed to get rid of the current occupant of the White House. That was a lot of my motivation for creative output this past year. I wrote several essays and letters to the editor. I devoted 50 days to Instagram to watercolor lettering posts about voting. What a relief that we WILL have a new president in a few weeks. Now that we accomplished that, I am not quite as motivated to post, though I know that there is a lot of work to do. I am troubled by the racism, the hypocrisy, the corruption, the greed, that characterize so many people in power. What bothers me more are the millions of people, including friends and family, who voted for these unworthy people, and who can't see that they have been deluded. We must win Georgia, or evil Mitch will continue his evil ways.
A symbol of this tragedy is the video of a nurse treating a dying patient who couldn't believe that she was dying from COVID. This patient, like many like her, lost touch with reality and ultimately, this cost her her life. This cultish hold leads to "drinking the kool-aid" in the form of not listening to science, not wearing masks, not accepting factual evidence, and voting to keep people in power who care nothing for your needs, for democracy, for justice.
Somehow I want to be part of the way forward - to influence hearts and minds towards a more just, humane world. I think the way is through art - creativity. We need to be able to show empathy and compassion through images, music, or stories, I don't have the answers, just the desire, I know I am not content just making pretty things. I need to communicate ideas. The end of 2020 just a few days away, this is where I am today- fortunate, hopeful, and conscious of the need to continue to do something.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.