I was watching an Undertale video on YouTube this morning by Super Eyepatch Wolf this morning and this quote from the game Undertale struck a cord with me.
I’m not sure if it comes across my other online presences, but I’m very much an anime and closet comic book fan. I watch more anime than read manga and comics, but I grew up watching the 1990s Toonami block of animation with my brother. Watching shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Tenchi Muyo, Outlaw Star, Evangelion and many more.
I have a soft spot for indie video games because I typically like that most of them are shorter and easier for me to finish than 150 hour epics like Persona 5 or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which I enjoy immensely, but almost always finish the story months or even years after the collective world has moved on. Same goes with the game Undertale. Maybe one day I’ll get to it, but because a lot of my Twitter and Reddit communities are also anime and video game fans from time to time I have had Undertale leak into my stream and almost always there has been a glow of a game with people who really love it to the point they create their own fan art, fan fiction, and apparently fan games, which ceaselessly impresses me because I’ve always been an elementary-level programmer my entire life for anything beyond line-of-business apps in SharePoint and now PowerApps. I know I’m not new to this, but the line I see a lot of “ Despite everything, it’s still you“ struck a cord with me.
After all the horrors, bizarre times, and fleeting joys of 2020 I found myself texting some friends last night about the same sentiment.
“Stray thought 💭
Is it weird that I don’t know what I’m going to do after all this is done with COVID? Like, does the world go back to normal or are we going to emerge from this so changed we don’t recognize ourselves? It’s hard to tell some days”
A lot of this year has dragged on, a lot of this year has moved quickly in a blur, but more than anything it feels like our shared sense of time has been diminished and that’s what feels the most weird about this entire year. Wildfires, Murder Hornets, Movements for Racial Justice, A Messy Presidential Election….all in the mist of a (hopefully), once in a lifetime global pandemic in the form of COVID-19. Especially with a global internet and pandemic, everyone has experienced this year together, but everyone has done so in their own ways.
I work in IT so people often tell me their stories while I work on their devices and I’ve heard stories from social butterflies missing everyone, but getting more in touch with nature, introverts being forced to go the extra mile to reach out to other people, elderly people scared, but trying to put on a brave face because they feel like family members look to them for support, people with children trying to raise children who do not know what the world was like beforehand, a hairdresser who’s job was shut down for months over the summer, professors having to learn a completely new way of teaching, IT folk struggling to keep the backend gears of the world moving like myself, friends in healthcare who have had the Herculean tasks of fighting this awful disease on the front lines day in and day out, restaurant workers or grocery staff scared, but happy to have jobs, etc, etc. etc. More than anything, everyone has their own story from these times and they’re all different, but all part of a larger song that of the times, this awful year 2020.
I guess as a single person in a pandemic who also happens to be an awkward introvert I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time this year talking to people and trying to understand them; reading the news, listening to economic/news/tech/political/Cybersecurity podcasts, observing social media, and doing everything I could to understand the changing world around me. While overwhelming at times, trying to understand the world around me is soothing. I have a bit of anxiety that I often bury in my work and I probably need to talk to an expert about one day when I get up the courage, but this year with everything being disrupted I’ve had to take a step back and reorganize my life to give myself structure and understand this new world we live in.
Going back to my text message to some friends last night…I don’t know how life will be after all of this is said and done. I feel like a different person than I was a year ago. Hardened perhaps? More understanding of what’s truly important to me..perhaps? Better at dealing with uncertainty…definitely.
I don’t know what 2021 will bring for all of us. Probably new challenges as we slowly, day-by-day, month-by-month claw ourselves out of this pandemic, but I think that things will get better and return to “normal”…whatever that looks like after all of this. Despite all the trials and tribulations, all the loneliness and uncertainty, and all the never ending work to make it through this trying period in all of our lives…I think that despite all of it we’ll make it through it. Maybe changed, for some maybe unrecognizable from before, but at the end of the day when we look at the mirror I think we’ll still see be ourselves despite everything.
I’m Catholic, so here’s a short prayer to take you into the next year:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.