2020 Is Here. Now What?

Flagpole and yard with sun in the yellow sky on 1 January 2020
The flagpole and our side yard with the sun in the yellow sky on 1 January 2020

In Christchurch, New Zealand, on the first morning in 2020, the sky is a washed-out yellow colour. Some meteorologists have been saying that no, New Zealand is not seeing any effects of the massive wildfires blazing in Australia, but I (and I’m sure a great majority of Kiwis) beg to differ. This washed-out yellow sky has been happening as long as satellites have shown the large plumes of smoke heading out into the Tasman Sea and blowing towards New Zealand. Some particulate matter must be caught in the jet stream, causing the sky to become such a strange colour. And it seems interesting that news outlets like the New Zealand Herald are reporting Kiwis all over the South Island, like us, are walking up to these yellow skies, created by smoke from the Australian wildfires.

Yellow skies over Queenstown on 1 January 2020
Yellow skies over Queenstown on 1 January 2020 by Alana Terrinal

Sometimes I feel the weather reflects my mood, or my mood the weather. I’m not really sure I have that much influence over the weather, to be honest. I’m not Storm or anything. But there can sometimes be a mirroring there.

I woke up to a “Happy New Zealand new year!” text from my Mom, which was nice. There used to be a time where I’d get a screed of messages and texts and all sorts of things, but maybe that was only in response to me sending them out in the first place, and I couldn’t be assed last night, due to my mood. Interestingly enough, during dinner, I had an acute depersonalization attack: that pulling sensation in my head that was so strong, even Noel noticed something was wrong. And, also, later, we went to bed before midnight, agreeing that we each weren’t that fond of the whole New Year’s Eve thing anyway.

This is one of the little tests I’ve been undertaking lately too. First contact. For the longest time, I didn’t quite realize that, a lot of the time, I was the one doing the reaching out, I would hear back sometimes, and then a dialogue would start. Over the past few years, once in a while, I haven’t initiated first contact to see what happens. I guess I get disappointed when nothing at all occurs. I wonder, sometimes, if anyone would miss me at all if I suddenly disappeared from the face of the planet. I am only one small grain of sand on the beach of humanity, no more significant than any of the others. The beach would still remain, no more or no less, if my grain was washed away. Such is life.

Yellow skies over Dunedin on 1 January 2020 by Twitter user @opetheater
Yellow skies over Dunedin on 1 January 2020 by Twitter user @opetheater

So 2020 is here. For a few brief moments, I seem to get this pang of excitement: new year, new decade, still shiny and fresh and new, full of new opportunities and new frontiers to explore. And then: time is just a man-made construct, and yesterday and today really don’t have that big of a divide between them.

Last night, we discussed how many decades we had lived through, partially or fully, after the 2020s rolled around. For simplicity’s sake, each decade would be from the 0 to the 9, like 1980 to 1989, and we wouldn’t have to live through the entire decade to make it count.

Even though I am 45, the 2020s will be my 6th decade. For my parents, it will be their 9th decade, even though they are both 70 years old. And that kinda made things a little darker in my head.

Washed-out. I feel that a million times today. Sleep last night was okay, although I did wake up with a numbness in my hand and arm from sleeping on them funny, so it was a disturbed sleep at points. And I woke up feeling I wanted to get up, but as soon as I went to the bathroom to wash my face, I cursed that decision a little.

It’s supposed to be hot (34C / 93F) today, then cooling down again, so that adds additional dread to my mind. I am not as good in the heat as I used to be, so thankfully it will only be for a day. Even the thought of warm weather slows me down to sloth-like levels: in movement and in thinking.

So, I think the first day of a new year and a new decade will be a day I take it easy. Tinker a little with what interests me, then get further into it if it engages me more and pulls me out of my melancholy mood.

Interestingly enough, when I felt this way a few days before the new year, I decided to start researching a few specific topics for some writing I am working on. Once I got into that research — taking notes, following threads further — I didn’t feel so bad. Maybe starting a task with no expectations, good or bad, helps.

Maybe today won’t be so bad after all, once I get stuck into something.

One day at a time. I have to remember that I can’t tackle everything in one day. One day is not enough to do all I want to do, but add those days up, and things will come together.

One day at a time makes it more manageable. One day at a time means a chunk or two can be finished in a day.

I need to allow myself to have bad days. I need to celebrate the good days. I need to think, when I have a bad day, that tomorrow is another day, and that day could be a good day.

2020 is that year. I have to make it that year.

I hope, whatever you are doing, you are having a great start to 2020 (or gearing up to celebrate the start of 2020).

Red skies over Taylor's Mistake Beach, Banks Peninsula on 1 January 2020 by Tess Rait
Red skies over Taylor’s Mistake Beach, Banks Peninsula on 1 January 2020 by Tess Rait