Sunday, 8 November 2020

What we should remember about 2020

(And no, it's not toilet paper.)

2020 is a year that none of us will ever forget. Things we didn't even know existed 12 months ago are now part of our everyday lives: social distancing, arrows in supermarkets, Plexiglas EVERYWHERE, red dots on the floors marking 6 feet distances. Discarded masks litter the sidewalks and parking lots, bunched up gloves are overflowing the trash cans, and we don't even bat an eye when we see line-ups in front of stores, banks, or government buildings. "Must have reached their limit," we think to ourselves, sigh, and line up to wait our turn (or, in my case, leave and come back another time. I hate waiting).

Whether you believe it's real or a hoax (conspiracy theories having a big moment this year), Covid-19 has changed all our lives. The toilet paper wars, Tiger King and baking sourdough in March seem like a lifetime ago, a quaint memory of simpler times when we still believed that it would all be over in a couple of months. We were scared, sure; but we all thought this was just a temporary glitch we could fix with turning off normal life for a bit, turn it back on and all would be back to normal.


It doesn't look that way. Even the world's biggest optimist had a few glass-half-empty moments this year, because life as we knew it is no more. Many countries are entering, or have already entered, a second lock down; travel seems a thing of the past; and our hands will never be the same again from all the washing and sanitizing. We've all experienced moments of rage when we want to scream at the stupid arrows or the elbow bump instead of a hug; moments of grief for not having seen some of our friends and family in months; and moments of exasperation about people who still claim that wearing masks means giving up their freedom and being manipulated by the government.


It's normal and healthy to grieve what we have lost. 2020 has been an exceedingly difficult year for all of us. We've had to cancel plans, vacations, weddings and travel; we've gained weight, spent hours every day on the couch binge-watching Netflix and felt like unproductive blobs; we've been locked up for months and realized that lack of time was never the reason for our questionable housekeeping skills. 

Anxiety and depression are having a field day for the 300th day running; we can't concentrate; and we feel like failures for not using all that extra time productively. 

Not every year is for thriving; some are for surviving. 2020 definitely falls into the latter category. 

However, it's important to find positivity even in this mess.
As Dumbledore says: "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." 

Here are a few important things to remember about 2020:
  • We are more resilient than we think. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and we are still standing! Or lying down large parts of every day, but we are still here, adapting and surviving! 

  • We are all in this together. The entire world is facing this pandemic, and despite our differences, it helps unite us in some ways. In September, "64 higher income economies have joined [...] a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure eventual Covid-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live". (source)  

  • We have front-row seats to a historic moment. No matter where you stand on politics, we are witnesses to history in the making. Kamala Harris is the first woman who is Vice President-Elect of the US. She is also a black woman of South Asian descent and the daughter of immigrants. This is a momentous moment for women everywhere! I was crying happy tears yesterday on and off all day. 

  • Women are changing the world. Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old diminutive, yet powerful activist is leading a worldwide campaign to fight climate change (and proved to be a superb troller of Donald Trump). Stacey Abrams, an American politician, lawyer, and voting rights activist, registered over 800,000 new voters in Georgia, leading Georgia, a historically red state, to turn blue, which played an essential role in the outcome of the election. In the fight against Covid-19, countries led by women have "systematically and significantly better" outcomes than countries led by men. Well done Angela Merkel (Germany), Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand), Mette Frederiksen (Denmark), Tsai Ing-wen (Taiwan) and Sanna Marin (Finland)!

  • Time is a gift. If nothing else, 2020 has taught forced us to slow down. We've stayed home a lot more, with less distractions and opportunities to go out and be entertained. It can feel uncomfortable, but it's important. We can only figure out where we are in life and where we want to be by spending time with ourselves. You have grown this year, even if you're not aware of it yet. Your future self thanks you for every hard lesson you had to learn. 

  • Kindness is everywhere. Difficult times bring out the best and worst in people - including ourselves. We always have a choice of how we want to act, whether in good or bad times. Small things like smiling (yes, even smiling behind our masks will be seen by others - remember Tyra Banks' smizing? All those hours of watching ANTM finally paid off), saying thanks, complimenting others and listening are more important than ever. Helping each other makes it easier on all of us to go through this, and is the only way how we can come out stronger. 

And remember: there's no shame in taking a break/nap/have a minor melt-down. It's 2020, after all.




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4 comments

  1. "we've been locked up for months and realized that lack of time was never the reason for our questionable housekeeping skills" This! LOL!

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    1. A disappointing discovery. I can't blame anybody but myself! 😬🤦‍♀️

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  2. I'm loving this perspective. Thanks for a rare treat of a read about 2020!

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    1. "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." One of my all-time fave quotes from Harry Potter, and one I try to live by.

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