Let’s start with a pretty uncomfortable likelihood: 2021 will likely be a complete catastrophe. No matter the outcome of the impeachment trial or the election, the president won’t step down. This is true, obviously if he wins, but also if he loses. He’ll never accept the results. He’s said as much from the beginning. Honestly, just try to imagine him saying, “Well, we did our best, but the country chose a different leader tonight and I wish them all the luck in the world! We know they’ll do their best for the country because after all, that’s the only thing that matters!” Does the idea of him saying that make you laugh or cry? At this point I’m not even sure I can do one without the other.
Anyway, the whole thing will probably go to the very same courts that he’s spent his entire term stacking. At some point people will take to the streets in protest and in all likelihood be met with the same level of violence the protestors in India and Hong Kong are facing right now. Which, in case you forgot, is the very same violence protesters have historically faced in this country.
And that’s just what happens if the president survives—and let’s all hope and pray that he does! Seriously, because if he’s struck down by the stress of the job or his own decades-long diet of fast food and diet soda, all of those mass shooters, mail bombers, conspiracy theorists, members of various hate groups who are inspired by the president would cry foul and escalate their violence in the name of their new martyr.
And that’s not even touching on what a terrifying monstrosity a Pence presidency would be.
So, yeah, 2021 is probably going to be horrifying in unimaginable ways, but there’s good news: 2021 is a whole year away. That may not sound like good news, but what it means is, Lord willing and the nukes don’t fly, you can make 2020 a good one.
You and I don’t know each other well enough for me to give you advice. And while the timing is right for New Year’s resolutions, it feels a little corny to call it that. That said, here’s a number of things I’ve done that have helped me deal with crises, improved my overall experience of the world and hopefully prepared me in some way for what promises to be the most obnoxious of all possible apocalypses.
Learn to shoot a gun
I’m gonna be straight with you. I hate guns. I always have. I love them in my entertainment, but in real life I just can’t stand them.
So, a few years ago I was visiting a friend in the Mojave Desert. Like a lot of folks out there, my friend has survivalist tendencies and he loves guns. He also knows I don’t. Half-jokingly, he offered to take me shooting and I accepted his offer.
For real, it sucked. I hated every second of it. It felt like way too much responsibility, but I learned. And I’m glad I did because even though I continue to hate guns, that knowledge is better had and not needed than needed and not had.
Ugh. I know. It’s such a cliché. And annoying, but it’s real. I used to eat, um, presidentially, but after a bit of a health scare a while back I decided to start eating healthier. Something that helped me a lot was striking the word “diet” from my vocabulary. That word sounded like I was keeping things from myself, restricting my own behavior. Thinking of it as just eating healthier felt like I was doing something good for myself and it didn’t take long to make it routine. Of course, eating healthier is naturally paired with…
Oof. More with the clichés, I know. I worked at a gym for years and I really grew to loathe them. Everyone eventually seemed like vain hamsters all running the same wheels at the same time never breaking from a constant stare at their own reflections. And spending money to do that? Luckily, you can get weights and a bench for pennies on the dollar on craigslist. Plus, you know, push-ups, crunches, squats, running and even pull-ups on a tree branch are all free.
Also, exercise doesn’t have to be “exercise.” It can be a recreational sport or a dance class or you could…
Learn a martial art
I’ve studied martial arts for more than 20 years. As an adult, I’ve only been in a handful of situations in which fighting was necessary. I can tell you without a doubt that the key to success in those moments was not martial arts. It was situational awareness, but having the tools of martial arts in my belt gave me the confidence to act and the appropriate response. If you are new to martial arts, jiu-jitsu is a great place to start because it is practiced how it is used and doesn’t require a lot of physical strength to be successful.
Take a first aid class
It was required back when I worked in that gym. It was the best thing I ever did even though I’ve been fortunate enough to never have to use it. You can get that training at a Red Cross near you.
Learn a musical instrument
As a musician, I’m obviously biased here, but hey, you’re gonna need to entertain yourself somehow post-cataclysm, right?
This is something I’ve actually never done. I don’t have much of a yard, but there’re community gardens. Maybe I’ll start with something potted on a window sill. Learning to grow things could be just the practical and meditative thing I’ve been missing.
If you need it, I hope this list gives you the inspiration to make 2020 the best pre-annihilation year possible. And on the off-chance I’m wrong, well, you’ll have had a pretty good year anyway!
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