Pandemic Chronicles #31: And so, what about 2023?

On this last day of 2022, I visited Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, to see a special exhibit devoted to the rich history of Life magazine and how photojournalism shapes our perceptions of world events around us. The exhibit was engaging and thought-provoking and well worth the visit. I made a bit of an event out of it by treating myself to lunch in MFA’s open air café and by visiting its excellent bookshop, where I made a couple of purchases.

Perhaps I was also drawn to MFA today because of an odd sense of nostalgia. It was roughly three years ago that I decided to join the museum, inspired by a visit there with my long-time friends Sharon and Don Driscoll. Don and I are college chums going way back, including a semester abroad in England. During that semester, I received by far my lowest grade in college, a D+ in Art Appreciation. I’ll spare you the bloody details about how I earned that grade, but suffice it to say that I was not interested in an early morning class that featured slides of a lot of old paintings. I had more important things to do. Like sleeping.

Anyway, during one of the Driscolls’ welcomed trips to Boston, the MFA was on our list. The highlight of that visit was a wonderful introductory tour by one of the super-knowledgeable MFA docents. One of my digital mementoes of that visit is this photo that Sharon took, with a painting of the Boston Common behind me:

photo by Sharon Franklin Driscoll

I decided after that visit to join the MFA, which happens to be three short subway stops away from my home. With unlimited museum admissions as a benefit of membership, I figured that I could make periodic short visits as interest and opportunity dictated.

During my first sojourn there as a member, I texted Don and Sharon to announce my new quest for cultural literacy. Don, recalling my D+ in Art Appreciation, replied that I was proof of the theory of evolution. As I looked ahead to 2020, I figured that regular visits to MFA would be part of the upcoming year.

Well, we know what happened a few months later. Talk about a global tsunami of an event. And we’re still living with it.

This is my long-winded way of saying that with 2023 just hours away, I am making few assumptions about how the year will go. I have hopes and aspirations for it, of course, but if nothing else, the past three years have taught us how quickly our lives can change in dramatic ways outside of our control. The new normal puts a premium on changing and adapting to new circumstances. 

So, I’m buckled up again for the journey. I hope it’s a happy and healthy one for you and yours. And maybe it will include visits to great museums and other fine places.

3 responses

  1. Dave, What fun to start 2023 with thoughts of our visit to you at the end of 2019. We too cling to the memory of our visit to MFA and our dinner afterwards at the Atlantic Fish Company! Unbeknownst to us that “normal” day was in the twilight of an innocent era when we took so many everyday activities for granted. Over the last few years, I too caught myself reminiscing specifically about that carefree day because it was a perfect day. I keep hoping that soon we will go back to Boston and enjoy another day with you filled with happiness instead of apprehension of what bug is lingering in the air. May 2023 be that year! PS. Don loved riding his rental bike around Boston! Sharon and Don Driscoll

  2. I’ve also been thinking more about year ends further back than just this past year. For all the positives, 2022 has been an exhausting year. No wonder we want to remeber more carefree times.

  3. Your trip to the museum has inspired me! Im feeling like hitting up one of my local museums here in my new home of Atlanta GA. Thank you for sharing your insights fellow Gen Joneser. (i still highly advocate for the Generation Jones name and it being completely separate from the baby boomers; their experience is simply not ours.

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