Burn 2020 after living

Adrian J Ortega 🗺️🧭
2 min readDec 31, 2020


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

There’s this one scene I love above any other in the brilliant Coen Brothers film, Burn After Reading.

The final scene shows us CIA officer Palmer reporting back to his superior about the series of unpredictable, unfortunate events that have unfolded.

If you don’t remember it, here it is:

- What did we learn, Palmer?

- I don’t know, sir.

- I don’t fucking know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.

- Yes, sir.

- I’m fucked if I know what we did.

- It’s hard to say.

- Jesus fucking Christ.

2020 was a tough year for most people. It was great for a few and fairly okay for some. But it wasn’t a good one for many.

Some people find it easy to draw conclusions and lessons from their experiences, and judge them as good, bad or neutral. It’s harder for others.

2020 was personally neither good nor bad. And I might need another year to gain some distance and get a better understanding of what has happened and changed within.

There’s no rush anyway.

As much as we like to portray a new year as a fresh start, we all know deep down that it’s just an arbitrary demarcation we impose onto time. We’re not starting anew, but continuing with events that started previously.

We’re still in the thick of it and will be for a while.

It’s fine not to be sure what to make of the leaving year. It’s normal to need some more time to step back and process what’s still unfolding: perspective to see with clarity what’s happening inside as well as outside of us.

And nobody really knows anything.

But if you’d really like a lesson to bring to the new year with you, maybe this could help: being patient, compassionate and understanding goes a long way, especially in times of crisis.

And it’s vital to learn to apply this to yourself first and foremost.

You’re doing your best after all, aren’t you?

Stay safe, and happy new year.

If this spoke to you, please consider liking it, leaving a comment or giving me a follow — even though I write these because I enjoy it, it’s always encouraging to know there’s someone on the other side.



Adrian J Ortega 🗺️🧭

Existential Holistic Detective | Freelance Content Designer | Writing on content, Philosophy, and everything in between | linktr.ee/AdrianOrtega