That photo was taken at 1:15 am on January 1st, 2020. Two tired, happy, danced-out people thinking that intentionally partying away the old year and welcoming the new year would make a difference.
Well, at the very least, I've had the happy memory of that fun night to carry me through this year that did make a difference -- but not in any of the ways we expected! We certainly won't be partying this year, and I do believe bedtime will be a sensible 9 pm.
When I sat down to think about 2020 and my impressions of it, the ideas came out as words, rather than sentences. So instead of a long essay, here are some thought-provoking ideas (based on my experience with the pandemic from my safe bubble in rural Nova Scotia, my tuning into the news several times a day, and my reading on social media).
(in no particular order)
2. Hoarding versus care packages
8. Essential (services; travel; interaction)
10. Resilience (teachers; students)
14. Common good
15. Zoom versus room (online vs. in person)
17. Fear (abuse; violence; school as safe space)
19. Need vs. want (shopping)
20. Creativity (adaptability; technology)
For me, when I think back on 2020, I’m conscious of the sacrifices others made for the common good, especially those working in essential services. Health care was obvious, but we suddenly recognized that employees at grocery stores and coffee shops are essential workers, too.
The pandemic reinforced my belief that acceptance is only ever the way forward; resistance and denial are the path of heartbreak, hardship, and grief.
Speaking of grief, the past year also opened up our thinking about letting go – reminding us that loss isn’t just about the death of a person, and we are all affected by grief, whatever the reason is.
In many ways, 2020 made us more compassionate, more considerate, and more aware. At the same time, wow – humanity lost a lot of ground, and squandered its potential, yet again.
If we are going to learn anything from the year 2020, if we are going to work on anything in 2021, it’s THE COMMON GOOD. That's the way forward, but it's going to take a real commitment to stay changed -- to have seen our potential and to start pushing back on those who want the world to remain the same.
In 2021, the phrase, "We're all in this together" needs to become a mantra, rather than a cliche. It needs to become imbedded in our cells, in our beliefs, in our interactions and in our policies.
I honestly believe we came thisclose, we actually reached the edge of that possibility, we saw the shimmer of the other side, and I remain committed to my optimism that we can make the world a better place for everyone.
Perhaps I sound hopelessly naïve, and perhaps that's another takeaway for me from 2020: I am more hopeful than ever that we can change, and stay changed.
Happy New Year, my friends. May this year be kinder and gentler to you, yours, and everyone. xo