New Year, 2021

January 24, 2021

What a year it’s been.

My last post was November of 2019, which was also the first post in the new blog format (cslebar.com). I had such grand plans at the time! And then, 2020 happened. Need I say more? I guess I will anyway: Between moving to San Francisco, and starting a new job, and then roughly six weeks after that, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, my priorities changed. Suddenly I was navigating working from home for the first time, and trying to stay connected with friends and family virtually, while cooking more - a lot more. I am one of the privileged few who was able to make the transition to work from home fairly easily, who was able to keep my job, and who has been able to survive this dumpster fire of a year in general comfort. I am grateful for that. But at the same time, I have grieved the loss of family friends and acquaintances, and the loss of freedom of movement, of all the little things we enjoyed and moved to San Francisco to experience. I am also grieving the state of our country, with over 400,000 deaths so far, prolonged unemployment, continuing systemic racism and discrimination, government ineptitude at many levels (although with hope for change under the Biden-Harris administration), and the many difficult conversations I have had with friends and family over public health compliance and safety.

So - in trying to restart this writing effort, after a year of neglect - where to begin?

Expect several posts to come that review my work in 2019 and 2020, then, hopefully, some new directions and topics for 2021. In 2019 I started an Instagram account, which I have used to post photo updates, but I have missed the research and thoughtfulness of long-form blogging. Hats off to my friends at Lady of the Lab, EPBOT, and others who have continued to write inspiring, comforting, motivating, and funny posts to get us all through 2020.

San Francisco view

Usually I take this first post of the year to reflect on the past year, but let’s skip that and head straight to what I would like to accomplish in 2021, so the internet at large can hold me accountable.

  1. Improve and develop stronger relationships with family and friends. Working on my relationship with my spouse is particularly a top priority this year.
  2. Post something here every month, both to keep myself in the habit of writing, and to give myself opportunities to share what I’m working on personally and professionally.
  3. Keep up with all the good self-care stuff: Continue to exercise regularly (I ran my first 5k in 2019, and I’m hoping to try a 10k at some point), cook healthy meals regularly, play the piano regularly, etc. If & when climbing gyms reopen, and I get vaccinated, find a new climbing partner and start indoor climbing again.
  4. Find ways to engage with my new community of San Francisco. This means, for me, looking for a new church community nearby; evaluating whether to join any local professional organizations and committees; and deciding whether to join any local volunteer organizations, in addition to or instead of the organizations that I already support.
  5. Take stock of our carbon footprint. This past year, we took zero plane flights, though we did go on a gas-guzzling RV trip to Utah. I am interested to see how this shakes out in terms of carbon, and to think about whether there is a more environmentally friendly way to plan for the holidays every year.
  6. Choose optimism! A few years ago, I gave up pessimism for Lent. It’s been pretty tough to stay positive in the face of the endless series of crises of the last few years - climate change, the Voldemort administration, the pandemic - but I think change is here, and it’s time to think about how to find hope and even joy in our world. I get to live in one of the great cities of the world, with amazing family and friends, meaningful work building affordable housing, and health and security. I want to be able to give back and bring others along with me.

San Francisco view San Francisco view