You’re all thrilled that 2020 is finally over. You’re doing a happy dance and renewed hope is making your little heads spin with anticipation. I’m going to turn it upside down and list the things I liked about 2020. Not the death and devastation, obviously – but here are some trends that you might miss, too, once they are gone.
Executives working from home
I go way back with corporate America, so I can recall many an hour with my butt in a conference room chair watching the people in charge yammering on about “women in the workplace”, “how to achieve work-life balance”, and the charming variety of concerned expressions that male execs could pull out of a hat to put on their faces when some poor frazzled woman asked “yes, but how are YOU going to make this easier?” The truth was, it was frowned upon to expose even a glimpse of your home life to your corporate colleagues. I pity the male exec who lost his head and told his boss “sorry, JR, but the baby has colic.” His name would have been pulled from the Fast Track Hot Shot List and put on the “middle-management forever” log before he could even get the words “….according to my wife!” out of his mouth.
Well, well, well. The shoe is on the other foot. Now that people have to work from home all the frickin’ time, guess what? I get to hear THEIR crying babies and barking dogs and shrieking spouses. They used to leave all that turmoil behind, secure in the knowledge that it was someone else’s problem for 16 hours a day. “Hey, I’m working here! Doing important stuff! Bringing home the bacon, guiding the great corporate battleship!”
So here’s what, bud – now you get to do both. This is what work-life integration actually looks like, and it isn’t always serious and quiet and filled with soliloquies about the cars you want to buy.
Well, not all of them – but be sure to watch Match.com’s Satan dating 2020 with some lovely shots in a rainy central park. Don’t miss the squirrel getting zapped by lightning!
And this one (not a real ad, but it should be)
Better Spending Habits
Instead of blowing through all my cash on things like dining out at fine restaurants, going to the Met (both opera and museum), taking classes in activities I’ll probably never actually do like weaving and stand-up paddleboard, or just taking the subway to meet with a bunch of friends somewhere I’ve never been before, I spent the year walking five feet from desk to bed on a steady 12-hour rotation. The money I would have spent on such frivolities as haircuts, dental check-ups, and health clubs with swimming pools now goes right into the 401K.
Dialed back holiday season
Am I the only Grinch who was delighted by the break from the usual frenzy between Nov 1 and Jan 1? I think not.
A Sports Vacation
A combination of schadenfreude and a once-in-a-lifetime break from the total, utter boredom that is televised international sporting events left me feeling refreshed and invigorated.
More Alcohol and Chocolate
Of COURSE I gained a lot of weight. Who wouldn’t with a nightly pear martini and chocolate bar? Still, that combo did more for keeping me in a positive frame of mind than all the self-help books published for the past decade.
More humans getting involved with fellow-humans
To paraphrase Jon Stuart, “2020 was the year we could all stop and smell the racism.” Instead of being distracted by business as usual, people across the nation started to prick up their ears, rub the sleep from their eyes, and say “wait a minute, it’s wrong for people to be slaughtered on the streets of America!” I count myself among their numbers, by the way.
Finding out who’s a True New Yorker
Through times both good and bad, New York City is filled with a heady mix of tourists, commuters, natives, the bizarre and insane, youngsters filled to the brim with talent, ambition and dreams, the money-hungry, the looky-loos, and the true believers. Sometimes one person can be all those things at the same time. Yeah, don’t look at me like that – I’ve seen natives of the Bronx become dazzled tourists the first time they set foot on the Circle Line.
The one vital ingredient, though, is that you don’t have the sudden and persistent wish to flee when things get a bit sticky. Those who do are the transients, the ones just passing through who need a few good stories to tell the folks back home. “Yes, that’s right – it was a RAT. In the subway! Dragging a slice of pizza!!!” So to all of those who bailed out permanently once the going got tough, I say thank you. Rents are dropping, the sidewalks are walkable, and the rats are back to scavenging through neighborhood trash heaps, where they belong.
Proof that the majority of Americans aren’t bat-shit crazy