TCI Friday – NYE

Today is my 50th birthday, which doesn’t mean much, unless you’re me. I woke up with a plan for an epic hike with friends, but then tested positive for Covid on my way out the door. Happy Birthday!! 2021 still sucks, and this coronavirus waits for no (wo)man.


As my symptoms are minimal and my attitude is that anything that doesn’t kill me just makes me more imperviously irritable (and sets me up for the next thing along to do the deed), I’m soldiering on with my day. I hiked anyway (socially distant) and knocked back 9 miles before discretion overcame valor. I came home, showered, pounded some coffee and pulled out the laptop to do my little Friday cartwheels for you lot.

The tiredest idea for a TCIF on New Year’s is the solicitation of resolutions. I feel certain that, in the years I have been doing this gig in one form or another, I have fallen back on the resolution trope many times. But not today. Today, I’m endeavoring to turn my frown upside down.

So instead of looking forward to what might be (especially given the pandemic’s proven track record of dashing hopes and curtailing dreams), I’m looking back on a year of living in constant fear of which other shoes might eventually drop and picking out the good things, a sort of retrospective gratitude to adjust my attitude.

I ran two ultra-marathons this year. And yeah, I know this isn’t that site, but they were high points for me, because I finished them both and received the attendant participation medals. Everyone loves a tryer. I also banked some great bike rides, fewer events than normal, but some solid times with friends, rolling along in beautiful places. My approach to riding changed ever so slightly, with less emphasis on suffering and more accent on simple fun.

I just turned 50, but I’m trying to be 12 years-old forever, and I achieved that goal quite a bit in 2021. In fact, I’d say the pandemic and its reminder of our collective and individual mortalities, actually enhanced my belief in the pursuit of childish fun. Death is life’s true gift, the certainty that time’s not for wasting.

And so, as we wait for our balls to drop (or whatever the old tradition was), the last TCIF of 2021 asks, what went right for you this year? To invoke another old saying, whence and how were you able to knit a silk purse out of 2021’s sow’s ear? That’s a metaphorical saying. I hope you didn’t stick a needle in a pig. That’s mean.

Join the conversation
  1. Mo Gaffney says

    A great read. Happy New Year/Birthday! (I got Covid for Christmas. Blech.)

  2. khal spencer says

    I guess you wrote this last week? If so, belated happy birthday, Emlyn. And I hope the Covid bug doesn’t hammer you too hard.

    Fifty. I kinda remember that. I had the worst flu of my life on my fiftieth birthday. I celebrated fifty laps around the sun lying on the couch with a bucket nearby. Its been uphill since.

    So what went right? Well, I finally retired so I can spend more time at play. We will see how that works out. Dodged The Bug so far, but with Omicron spreading faster than a bad rumor, it may be just a matter of time. But being the introvert that I am, maybe I’ll avoid getting sneezed on by someone with The Bug.

    Take care. Fifty is the new forty.

  3. TominAlbany says

    Happy Birthday, John! 50 is nifty!

    What went right out of the f’ing mess i made of 2021?

    1. First gravel ride was the Farmer’s Daughter in Chatham. Hours of fun and thrills on the CX bike. Ran tubes. Zero flats.
    2. Entered that CX bike in a few races and made some new acquaintances that I hope to see again next year.
    3. Began talking to the old riding crew from pre-marriage/kids about getting the band back together in 2022 and things look promising!

    Happy New Year. Hope you’re recovering quickly with no long-covid effects.

    Cheers! -Tom

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