Look Back at the Past
A review of last year's annual letter.
Each year, I send an annual letter within my holiday cards. Most years I also post that letter on my blog, but last year I failed to.
I’m already written and sent out 2021’s letter, but I wanted to post and review 2020’s, since it was a rough year.
Here’s my 2020 letter, complete with follow up commentary on how those things went.
Yule 2020 - Seasons greetings, friends & family!
In Norse tradition, on each solstice & equinox (so each quarter year), we gather together to present a toast, a boast, & an oath. December 21st is the Winter Solstice. I do a personal version of this each quarter for myself, but I decided to share a longer 2020 version for this letter. Some variation of this eventually found its way online here.
This year started off with one of the hardest experiences of my life - on January 1st, my beloved bird Kiwi died. Kiwi was a 22 year old Quaker parrot I’d had for 20 years. His mate, Petrie, now 23, is still alive & doing well, but he lost his lifelong companion & thinking of the loss still breaks my heart. I’ve had Petrie & Kiwi since I was 12 years old - Quakers often live 20-30 years. Kiwi was the softest bird I have ever had & he loved to talk. “Peekaboo”, “Pretty birdie!” & “Kiwi!” were his favorite words to say. He was silly, smart, charming, good with people, & absolutely adored Petrie with every fiber of his being. If Petrie went somewhere, Kiwi followed, across the cage or across the room.
My toast is to Kiwi, who, with Petrie, taught me how one’s heart can exist outside one’s body.
2021 follow up: I was certain Petrie would either die of a broken heart soon after Kiwi’s passing or live forever out of spite. Well, it’s been almost 2 years to the day since Kiwi’s death and Petrie is still as grumpy and handsome as ever. It’s been 22 years of us together, he turned 24 in April. I miss Kiwi basically every single day, and do what I can to compensate the loss to Petrie. If you want to see videos of Petrie, or old videos of the two of them and how much they adored each other, you can find them on Instagram @JustABirb
My boast is that I’ve ended this year better than it began. My partner Judd was there while Kiwi died in my arms, & he embraced my immense vulnerability & pain with love & support. We set out to have a better year than that, though in retrospect, a dead bird feels like the kind of omen 2020 can be summed up by. However, this is life - to be able to share the joys & the sorrows, & it’s good to know I have a partner in life & love who stands alongside me for both.
Despite the global scale terribleness of the year, there is much that is to be appreciated. My birds, Petrie & Justice are happy & healthy. Judd’s cat Abby is as well. Judd & I celebrated the 8th anniversary of our first date in August. Even with the dramatic reduction in social life due to lockdowns, we have a good bubble of close friends we see often, & our home has still (safely) hosted small dinners, movie nights, & plenty of other joy & laughter.
Work has been consistent & my activism continues. In February, I spoke on the main stage at Anarchapulco (in Acapulco) about “How To Make Yourself Useful” in Liberty activism. I gave a similar speech at Liberty Forum in New Hampshire later that month & at the LP of Texas in August. Many of the conferences I usually attend each year were cancelled due to lockdowns. However, I was able to participate remotely in the online Australian Libertarian Society’s July event where I was on a panel on Victimless Crimes, & in May I gave a nominating speech for Vermin Supreme for President at the Libertarian Party National Convention’s online presidential nomination. In July, the Libertarian National Convention met in Orlando, where I had the honor of receiving my Lifetime Membership pin from outgoing Chair Nicholas Sarwark on the main stage. It meant a lot to me, as the Party is like family to me.
2021 follow up: Added a picture of me getting my lifetime pin above. And video of Vermin’s nomination speech. Don’t have much to update on the boasts - that’s kind of review of the previous year, so that doesn’t change.
Much of 2021 is still up in the air, in terms of travel or speeches. I plan on focusing on more writing, as my speeches this past year serve as a decent outline for another medium (such as articles or a book). I do hope I get back on a stage soon, as I’ve really warmed to public speaking. Judd’s hard at work on a new cannabis brand launching in the spring of 2021, & I’m helping him in any way I can, for our shared success.
I continue to work on my personal time management, so I can be even more productive than I have been. I have much to do & to say & to accomplish, & as I said last year - truly the only thing in my way is my own tendency to procrastinate. Which is why I’m writing this letter on December 15th instead of Thanksgiving like I was going to.
May your holiday season & new year be filled with love, laughter & light.
2021 follow up: In some ways I got better at my time management. A few things fell off though. Judd’s cannabis brand did not launch in Spring of 2021 - we pivoted from cannabis because the regulatory and tax environment in California is absolutely ridiculous. It bleeds you dry, and leaves you nothing. California politicians have destroyed an industry. It hurts to admit, but that’s it.
In better news, I said I’d be writing, and I did! I started this blog!
I’ll be posting 2021’s letter shortly!