If This Is Your Worst Of Times

We have been self-isolating since returning from the US eight days ago – and so we have two days remaining of it. Not that we will be able to go anywhere anyway after our isolation ends. London and our area are now basically in a new lockdown again starting today.

So surprise, surprise, we had a quiet Friday night in:

[From my Instagram Stories, December 18, 2020.]

Having a look for new films to distract myself, I discovered one I have not seen in years (since probably the 1990s, in a cinema, uh, to be honest) that I realized I would like now to watch again. That I am sure is a shock to you. For some reason, I never bought the DVD:

[The Last of the Mohicans. From my Instagram Stories, December 18, 2020.]

But actually I decided another film needed its yearly rewatch first:

[The Holiday. From my Instagram Stories, December 18, 2020.]

That often silly and escapist latter film also led me to think about this and partly brought on this post. Because in a way this year it depressed me. And of course that reaction was THE OPPOSITE of what it should have done.

The other spur was I saw the other day as well this pop up in my Instagram:

[From Instagram.]

And that set me off. Allow me to be the contrarian here. My private response to seeing that suggestion…

[From Instagram. “Line art” addition by me.]

…I illustrate for you above.

This may be a difficult season of the year for many even in good times. However, 2020 is perhaps the worst Christmas season in decades. For many more people than usual it is indeed the absolute worst Christmas of their lives.

If this year is much tougher for you than any previous one, if you feel there is no hope, if you feel there is no reason to go on… believe me I DO UNDERSTAND YOU. I have been there. Indeed I have been there more recently than you may think.

For as long as I can recall I have gone through periods of finding life so wearing and futile, and feeling myself alone and even a failure. If you knew me, you would probably be stunned by that admission. More than once I have even caught myself – and have again even just in recent days – wondering what would be the difference if I disappeared tomorrow or twenty-five years from now.

In this extra-lousy year, you more than ever may feel the deck is stacked against you, that you cannot catch a break, and that you just cannot cope with even one more setback. As a British prime minister once aptly said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” If you are currently going through that personal hell, please always try also to remember you are in fact NOT going through it alone.


  1. Must confess, an evil little chuckle slipped out when I saw your scribbled response to the “sunshine” meme. Despite my occasional visit to Hallmarkville, I too find such sentiment way too saccharine. My mother has a gloom and doom mentality, and thanks to her, my brother and I both find ourselves often struck down by what we refer to as pessimistic optimism, something we explain away with, “We tend to think the worst, and if something good happens, we’re pleasantly surprised.” Anyway, just wanted to chime in and add my support. You are definitely not alone, and right now, it’s important we all share those feelings so that we can all be there for one another. Stay well, my friend!

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    • Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy happy happy happy. But I feel there’s a place for that. That meme struck me as tone deaf. Things for tens of millions are REALLY bad right now, and we shouldn’t pretend searching for “sunshine” as people are being evicted (“Gosh, enjoy sleeping under the stars.”) is going to help at all. Or that utterly insulting $600. The unmitigated gall of senators even to pass that as if it constitutes some sort of serious statement. (Marie Antoinette was more sympathetic.) It all just hit me as totally wrong. That’s all.

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  2. The forced happy holiday season irritates me to no end each and every year. There is now, and has always been, unspeakable anguish experienced by millions around the globe, so these phony holidays are truly insulting to so many. As for me, I have few complaints. The biggest of which will be with me until I die is I wish my daughter didn’t die from cancer 7 years ago at the age of 24. That is my permanent heartache. But those complaining about losing their freedom due to covid ought to just shut up and deal with it. I figure if I have my health, a roof over my head, Netflix and ample food, then things are reasonably okay. Sure, they could always be better, but they could a whole lot worse. And more than 320,000 dead Americans is proof of that. Just think of the millions of people that have been impacted worldwide by this pandemic. I am a priviledged white American, not wealthy but comfortable, and I will not be joining the “whoa is me” crowd anytime soon.

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    • Many thanks for that. I am unsure what more to say other than that is all we can do: we go on. This 2020 will end up in the rearview mirror and hopefully we will have learned a great deal better about what matters most in our lives and not be so quick to complain about the small stuff.

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