Borrowed, Bought, Given 2020

A lot of people talk about 2020 like it’s a flake of dandruff on their shoulder that they briskly wanna flick off. Pour an entire bottle of Head & Shoulders for it to never come back.

If anything, 2020 was my year of transformation. My growth. My rebirth. I rose above my own ashes after dying a little bit at a time a thousand times in 2019.

Sure, COVID-19 was the highlight of the year but during the downtime, I devoured books as if my soul was parched for wisdom I’ve been searching all along. Concepts that stretched the limits of my mind, expanding my thoughts into a universe upon a universe upon a universe.

It’s trippy.

The more I know, the more I realize I don’t know. It’s a humbling experience. It really is.

Down the rabbit hole I go.

In fairness to me, I did well on my readings this year. And when the op shops were closed due to lockdown, Amazon and Book Depository became my bestfriends — the latter with its free delivery and the former with its promptness. Parcels showed up in my doorstep or in my mailbox with copies I sometimes forgot I even ordered. At the height of COVID, Australia Post came through for me. Even if I’d seen a lot of complaints on social media about parcels being late or lost.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, the universe made sure to deliver her wisdom to me safe and sound. My younger sister the happy beneficiary of my purchases as she started reading the books I read, as well.

Spiritual Science — although replete with grammatical errors left right and center — was an excellent book if you make the conscious decision to not be anal about the utter lapse in proofreading. I highlighted the shit out of that book. Learned so much and loved a lot of the concepts it offered. One time, following the book’s exact words, I held my right arm out towards Jeff to send him this benediction:

You have my love.

Receive it well for the highest good of both of us.

I loved that line. But most especially, I loved how it caught Jeff off guard because it is a beautiful thing to say to your loved ones. It’s about honoring each other’s spirits with words of love and affirmation. The moment, as fleeting as it is, becomes as sacred as you both are.

Of the 24 books I read this year, there is one I simply could not muster the will to finish even though the end was only several pages away. Saving Fish From Drowning had some funny or profound lines here and there which was probably the reason why I soldiered on even when the joy of reading it was already lost a quarter of the way in. Unfortunately, those lines were few and far between. In the end, I didn’t see the point of wasting my finite resource over something that was no longer making me happy.

At any rate, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club would always be one of my all-time favorites. My opinion above doesn’t affect my regard for her as a writer. I reckon she’s brilliant.

Same goes for Eckhart Tolle. But practicing his own teachings, he’d probably see that as flattery to the ego.

It is what it is.

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