I start the year just as I finished the last one: exhausted and burned out. I leave Automattic and decide to take three weeks off before looking for something new. This will later turn out to be a spectacularly bad piece of timing.
I attend RubyConf AU and spend time hanging out with many friends and excellent humans, and many hugs are exchanged. Little do any of us know that these hugs will have to sustain us for the foreseeable future.
Later, I get taken to the hospital in an ambulance with some chest pain. (Turns out to be nothing.) Unrelatedly, we find and adopt a lost cat.
Horror stories about COVID-19 start to emerge from Italy. Friends start losing their jobs. A few weeks later, Australia starts social distancing. TV shows from the Before Times start looking weird almost immediately. What seems like several decades later, March finally ends.
At this point, I am still optimistic that I’ll manage to find a new job within the next couple of months. Oh, my sweet summer child.
Remote schooling starts. This begins three weeks of utter frustration and rapidly degrading mental health on all our parts, until we abandon the attempt completely.
The kids and I discover Stardew Valley and lose most of the month to it.
Over the preceding few months, a small bump has appeared next to my nose, and my wife finally convinces me that I need to get it checked out. I’m told it’s cancer of some kind and it has to be biopsied immediately to determine a course of action. Somewhat luckily, it turns out to be a basal cell carcinoma, which at least is better than some of the other possibilities. I get it cut out about a week later, leaving me with a pretty decent scar. Histology suggests the doctor got all of it out, but I’ll have to keep an eye on it for the rest of my life.
Kids return to school! Thank fuck. Then our small concerns are put into perspective when the police murder a man in Minneapolis.
My wife has some minor (but painful) surgery. Three weeks after going back to school, kids go on school holidays. Due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases locally, holidays are extended a week, and then…
Melbourne goes back into lockdown. On the first day of lockdown, my wife starts having stomach pains. By two days later, they are bad enough that I have to drop her off at the emergency room (I’m not allowed in). After four days of bad hospital food, not much information, and a bunch of pain meds, her gallbladder is removed via keyhole surgery. This is not something you recover from quickly (duh!) and as of right now (two weeks later) she’s still unable to bend over, reach up, or lift heavy things. (But she’s okay!)
School goes back to remote learning. We have learned our lesson and are basically giving our kids very extended school holidays.
As of today, I have been unemployed for six months. I’ve applied for 45 jobs, been ghosted 31 times, had 11 interviews, received zero offers. If not for being allowed to cash in some of our superannuation, we might have been homeless by now. If I don’t find something soon, we still might be.
My kids are depressed and lonely. They have video chats with friends and family, but it’s not the same. We’ve tried to keep them insulated from things as best we can, but they can feel the stress we’re under.
So many of my friends and family have lost their jobs, or had health scares, or something else. I don’t know a single person who’s having a good year. We can’t even come together to commiserate or share hugs.
For my family, this would already have been the worst year of our lives (so far, ha ha) even if it weren’t for everything going on in the world. As it is, I don’t know if we can take much more.
There are 159 days left in 2020 and I’m counting each and every last one.