This is my second annual “Best Of” series of year-end posts. Some, I assume, will be brief. Some longer. All, varying degrees of serious. I’ll try my best not to use the words or phrases “unprecedented,” “new normal,” or “unpresidented”, but I can’t make any promises.
I was a “lobby rat” in college, but only when it wasn’t crowded. If I walked into the lobby of a dorm and there were more than a handful of people hanging out, I just walked on by. But if there were four or less, I planted myself there and talked about nothing in particular for hours on end. (Even though I’m an introvert, I am still my father’s son.) These times were especially memorable during the winter terms when the campus was nearly bare. I think what I loved most about those times were that the stakes were so low. We didn’t know it then. We couldn’t have. But in the middle of all the transformation going on within and around us, we needed that time to decompress with no consequences.
I know a lot of people who have regained some of those moments this year. And some, like myself, have been lucky enough to relive those low-stakes, lounge around times with actual old friends who we had previously lost contact with.
Early in the pandemic, a good acquaintance from college reached out to me about joining her and a mutual friend of ours, who was a good friend I had lost contact with since college, for a Monday night Happy Hour. I was happy to oblige, unaware that it would be an anchor for me during a difficult year. We’ve met every week since, almost always on Monday evenings. We drink, unless we don’t. We create an agenda for conversation, but don’t always stick to it. We are an Enneagram 8 (Jamie) and two Enneagram 6’s (Danael and me). The first two lines from the Enneagram Institute on 6’s and 8’s in relationships say this:
Enneagram Sixes and Eights can build an extraordinarily strong, long-lasting relationship on what is, at root, a defensive view of the world. Both types feel that most people and the world are selfish and untrustworthy, and that the world is highly unpredictable.
Imagine, then, the conversations we have about the rest of you during a pandemic. (Hint: You don’t want to know.) We are in San Francisco, Dallas, and Waco, which gives us each a window into completely different worlds. We’ve wrung our hands over lost work, elections, and rising death rates in our cities. We talk about spouses and parents and dogs and cats, and no matter how much we feel we’ve exhausted the memories of people and events from our ETBU days, someone almost ALWAYS brings up a new classmate, professor, or 1990’s phenomenon that we haven’t covered yet.
In some ways, 2020 has been an excavation of sorts for the world. We’ve dug up old weapons of war, recipes for disaster, and reminders of evil that has been done and is still being done to justify our destruction . But some of us have also dug up treasure, and Monday nights have been mine. I hope wherever this new year finds you, that you find treasure as well.