- What did you learn in 2020?
A major lesson I learned on my own, highlighted by recent events at ESPN and the testimonies that followed, is that you simply cannot assume your work will speak for itself. There are people who make important decisions about your employment who do not know what you do. I listen to this podcast I’m fond of but don’t always enjoy. Its target audience is younger than me by twenty years, it’s about sports but not really, it’s super creative in how it uses its time (even the ads are mustn’t-miss programming), and it’s way up front about its host’s mental health issues. It didn’t start off this way: its host and co-host took time to develop a relationship and a nurturing community of listeners (a community that doesn’t include me, but this is also part of its appeal). The co-host is pretty much 49% of the reason for the show’s success — its creative success and its commercial success. It was doing so well that ESPN asked them to produce the podcast twice a week after a couple of years of going once a week. Not two weeks after it began its double output, the co-host was laid off. It’s a clear case of executives acknowledging a program’s success while having no clue what makes it successful. Screw that. People get laid off; it’s a ridiculous, unfair fact of business. This is insane, though. ESPN is killing the show it’s trying to build. Anyway, I wen through a bit of this myself this year.
- What do you regret doing (or not doing) in 2020?
The big one is injuring my knee. Long, late-night walks were the thing around which my lockdown life revolved on a day-to-day basis. When my knee got too sore even for sleep, it was the end of my walking obsession. My physical and mental health since then is now one of the things I have to manage consciously, and I’m not always good at it. It has definitely healed some, so that I’m not thinking about it 24 hours a day, but last week’s car repair stuff meant a bit more walking than I’ve been doing, and my knee has really complained, reminding me that when this pandemic crap is over, I need to get it looked at. We’re talking major quality of life issues now. I regret not reading.
- What are you proud of doing in 2020?
I neglected my living space for quite a long time, and I’m proud that I’ve taken big steps toward getting it squared away. I have a lot yet to do, but it feels really good to see my progress.
- Who did you get to know better in 2020?
It was a real challenge getting to know anyone better in these circumstances. I have some new coworkers I’m getting acquainted with now, but I think the spirit of the question has more to do with people who were already in my life. I think my answer is Ali, who was already one of my best friends at work, but she’s got these walls that keep me away from a lot of personal stuff. She left the company (and the state) in February, and we’ve spent a lot of time communicating via text since then, and I feel like she’s letting me in, a little at a time, ‘though she insists she doesn’t consciously keep me out anymore. I think I disagree, yet I acknowledge I’m getting to know her better. I’m grateful for her friendship.
- What do you hope to accomplish in the remaining days of 2020?
I would really like to get these car repairs done. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t want to leave my car anywhere during a long holiday weekend, and I don’t think they’ll be able to take me during the week. Oh, I know. The new blog. I still haven’t decided if I’m actually going to launch it, but my frustration with the writing makes me think I should really do it, if for no other reason than to explore the challenge of writing it interestingly and well. I’m giving myself until December 31 to decide. If I go live, I go live on New Year’s Day. I’d also like to finish a few books I started.