2021, reviewed.

In comparison to the not hardly at all documented 2020, 2021 was a marked improvement. Still largely not at all documented, and still largely a ball of suck, but less of a ball of suck than the year previous–no, Covid was not the major thing that sucked for me.

I was ordered, as pretty much a lot of people were in Ontario, to work from home in March of 2020. I’ve always said I’d love to be able–optionally–to work from home, and the job I had was pretty much doable from anywhere besides my desk–most of the devices/platforms I needed to log into weren’t even in this country, so sitting in the office to use them really didn’t make a whole lot of difference. The government ordering me to work from home proved that, and after some less than pleasant personal events in the summer of 2020, I proved it further by basically working most of that year outside of Ottawa. In 2021, I made that shift to working from home into a permanent one by switching jobs. And just as soon as we make up our freaking minds what we’re doing re: covid, I can make my permanent working from home arrangement into an optional one–as I’d originally intended–with my employer’s blessing. Now I’ve got more money, more freedom, and more time to get shit done. In short, where was this 5 years ago?

In 2020, I became single after a relationship I essentially put everything I had into. Not going to lie, I was a mess for a bit. Surprisingly, the pandemic wasn’t related to the reason why we broke up–if anything, I think she enjoyed the fact the government was keeping me at home. I will say it was largely a difference of opinion. I’m smiling now, and it’s only tangentially related to that difference of opinion. In 2021 I formed a couple of new potential connections. I don’t know if either of them will actually evolve into a serious actual relationship for various reasons, but they’re important to me in their own way. Both of them have given me new perspectives I didn’t have a year ago. And, if ever I do end up in another serious relationship, both of them are helping–again, in their own way–to solidify what I don’t want in that relationship. Again, where was this 5 years ago?

Okay, enough of the suck versus less suck comparisons. Partly because I’ve run out of things to compare to, but mostly because screw it. We all know 2020 was a dumpster fire. In 2021, I finally, *finally*, purchased the new desktop computer/server/test bed/general geek machine. I haven’t had one since the hand-me-down I was using kicked the bucket a few years ago. My personal projects once again live in a permanent, stable, default location. Conveniently enough, so do my new professional projects–more on that later, if I don’t forget. In short, this allows me to play with more heavy-duty developer things. Which in turn means maybe next year I’ll get off my ass and learn to code (I know, stop laughing).

2021 also meant for me more hockey. Not just because the NHL hadn’t (until now, briefly) been nommed by Covid, but because the nature of my working now means I can be a lot more available to go to my nephews’ games. Which I’ve been doing pretty much every chance I get–again, until now, hopefully briefly. Being stuck in Ottawa taking care of someone, while I enjoyed doing so, came with drawbacks and that was one. While I have no trouble admitting I sometimes miss that, I have even less trouble admitting that if travel ever reopens for really real, or if I get fed up and decide to move permanently out of Ottawa, I don’t need to be tied to anywhere specific unless I want to be. So I can watch my nephews play hockey, still get paid, and life can be glorious.

In 2021, I also finished–after nearly a decade of trying–completely pulling myself out of financial hell. The Ontario disability Support Program (ODSP) was pretty much no help here, which is part of what took me the majority of that decade, but 2021 was the year it became official that I didn’t have a dime in collections. Oh, I still have debt. But now every cent of it is trackable, and if at all necessary, reusable. And it’s dropping like a freaking stone. 2022 promises to continue that trend, pending another 2008.

Speaking of the Ontario disability Support Program (ODSP), 2021 was the year I stopped qualifying for it entirely. That happened by virtue of the job change I wrote about above. I’m not throwing the “screw you, ODSP” party just yet (waiting to see if I’m still here in a year), but assuming I am, I am personally buying enough booze to give a Russian a hangover. Masks optional–if you’re fully vaccinated, for whatever definition of “fully vaccinated” at the time of the probably poorly planned and definitely poorly executed event.

And speaking of 2008, I fell behind by a long shot when my job went and emigrated to India as part of Dell’s attempt to save a dollar. I’m still behind, but I started for really real catching up in late 2021 when my job changed. I’m… still by no means where I want to be (see also: the earlier mentioned financial recovery), but I’m a lot farther ahead staring down the barrel of 2022 than I was staring down the barrel of 2009. Or 2021, actually. I mean, I have retirement savings (CPP doesn’t count), which I couldn’t say I did in 2020. It’s not much, but it’s more than I had when I had to set fire to everything so I could qualify for ODSP in 2010, and definitely more than I had when 2021 started (I don’t have exact numbers from 2010, but in 2020 and into 2021, it was $0). Now if everything cost today what it cost in 2010, I’d be laughing. But, can’t win ’em all, and I like my small victories.

I have no idea where 2022’s going. I still don’t entirely know where 2021 went. But I haven’t overall felt this good in a lot of years. Not being poor probably helps, but knowing the world isn’t speeding ahead of me as fast as it used to doesn’t hurt either. I’ll probably screw up, and things will probably go sideways, but I think as of this second I’m in a position to survive just about anything short of a catastrophic failure. And that’s something I haven’t been able to say in way too many years. Thanks, 2021. You weren’t as bad as you could have been and were probably better than you should have been.

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