And here we are at the end of another year. As far as years go, it wasn’t bad. For me, it seemed a sort of middling, cautious 52 weeks.
If I had to give a single word for the sense of 2023, it would be “maintenance.” 2023 was, for me, the first year since the COVID-19/Trump presidency shitshow that felt like something which could, with care, become the new normal. I say “new” normal, because things never go back to the way they were, no matter how much bleating and mewling come out of the revanchist, reactionary, racist conservative mouthpieces. The “again” in “Make America Great Again” was always a lie, and intended only to bolster the otherwise-cowardly wingnuts into flying their fascist flags in public, where everyone could see them, mark them, and make sure that nobody ever, for the rest of time, will forget who decided to put on the white hoods and red hats. Which are really the same thing.
House and Home
The biggest change for my mundane life in 2023 was a major upgrade to the retaining walls and steps on my property. This was long overdue. I have been intending to get to work completed for about a decade, but the combination of time, money, attention, energy, etc., was never there. But this year my neighbor on the adjoining property sold his house and, with the retaining wall between them being part of my property, I decided that I had best get the work completed before new tenants moved in.
And the result is beautiful! Better than I had hoped for. All of the work was accomplished by Fransisco Garcia and his company La Sierra Landscape. I couldn’t have asked for a more professional, competent, attentive and friendly crew.
Family and Friends
2023 was much more gentle on my friends and family than were the previous several. In 2023 I said farewell to Tanya, Randy, Ted, and Simu Lee. All were loved, and all will be missed.
After several years of a COVID-induced slump, Master Lee’s School of Tai Chi and Kung Fu is picking up again. We have a few new students and several of our older students are returning. Now that we are back in the YWCA, which means room to practice, we can finally put right all of the things which slipped over the three years of Zoom classes, meeting in parks, and cramming ourselves into small spaces. For the class I feel optimistic and think good things are ahead in the upcoming Year of the Dragon.
I went into 2023 writing regularly and feeling good about things. Then while attending ConFusion 2023 my partner and I contracted COVID and the enforced down-time allowed for some self-reflection, and in that moment all of the stress and burnout of the previous three years came crashing down and I barely wrote a single creative work until NaNoWriMo this past November.
And what do I have in store for 2024? Good question! In times as chaotic as these, making plans more specific than “survive” is inviting disaster. I suppose “making things a little better” is a good goal.
But becoming less bad is not the same thing as things being good. Everything is more expensive now, thanks almost exclusively to corporate greed and the insatiable emptiness of the monied neo-feudalists. There is a far greater than zero change that Trump and his army of brownshirts will regain the presidency in November, and if that happens, things will immediately get much, much worse for everyone on the planet who isn’t a rich white straight Christian man.