Sunday, December 20, 2020

Finding The Pony

There is an old parable about a science experiment involving two boys -- one an optimist and the other a pessimist.

Both boys were left alone in a room with a big pile of horse shit in the middle of the floor.  They were both given shovels.  The scientists left the room and when they came back a few hours later they noticed something amazing.

One little boy had a scowl on his face and was sitting angrily with his back against a wall.  His arms were folded across his chest with his shovel sitting beside him.  He yelled, "Why did you leave us alone in here with all of this shit??  It stinks in here.  It's nasty!  I want out of here...NOW!!"

The other little boy was the opposite.  He was smiling widely, engrossed by shoveling into the shit pile. He looked up happily and said, "With all this shit...there's bound to be a pony in here SOMEWHERE!!" 

For the most part, I think we'd all agree that 2020 was a pile of shit.  No need to rehash it since we've all just lived it.  Let's just stipulate that it is true.

But amongst the shit, there were a few ponies to be found.

First and foremost, it was extra time spent with my family.  My wife, son and daughter are my pride and joy.  I'm immensely proud of them all and it gives me great pleasure to spend time together.  In a year where we expected to be traveling in separate directions at all times, we have found large pockets of time when we were all at home together.  It has been years since we've shared this many meals, watched TV or movies together, played cards.  When the pandemic ends, life will resume.  But I will always recall and cherish the extra time we've had together this year.

The other pony I'd mention is the connection and reconnection we've had with friends and family members.  In "normal" years, we would certainly get together with friends and family.  But often the selection was limited by proximity -- we got together most with those who lived closest to us.  No big surprise there.  Hard to go to dinner and a movie with friends who live across the country.

However, one of the bright spots of the pandemic was the time spent with friends and family members we see infrequently.  While Facetime and video chat have been around for years, we just didn't do it.  At least not to the extent we have this year.  We picked up the phone or scheduled Zooms with friends we haven't seen in years.  And even with friends or family we would normally see once or twice a year, we doubled or tripled the number of times we've emailed, texted and Zoomed.  We didn't need to clean the house, cook a meal, etc.  We just visited virtually.

In fact, with one of our friend groups that we'd normally see once a year at the Telluride Film Festival, we created a Friday night Zoom that brought this gang (who live in 5 different states) together on a weekly basis for months.  We watched movies while chatting together on Netflix Watch Party.  We played virtual board games online.  We drank lots of wine and shared our week with each other.  While we've known each other for years and always enjoyed our annual pilgrimage to Telluride , we previously allowed physical distance to keep us "apart" throughout the rest of the year.  

So while we all had to shovel through a lot of shit this year, 2020 has changed us in certain ways for the better.  Not sad to see the year end.  But I appreciate the ponies it brought us.

Happy New Year to all!  


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