Perhaps 2020, in hindsight, really is 20/20.
“It’s OK to not be OK right now and to just do your best to get through this truly unprecedented time” was the common phrase throughout 2020.
From Washington DC, to the devastating wildfires, to our devastated economy, and the pandemic, 2020 was a year we will never forget. It may have been a year that for the first time, many of us looked around and thought, “My God. What have we become?”
To pretend we haven’t changed is to ignore the suffering. We can’t go through a year like this and not be changed. We simply cannot go back to what (and who!) we were.
And perhaps that’s a good thing.
Because dear reader, to break into the dawn, we must experience the darkness. And it feels like a dawn is starting to peek through. We have multiple vaccines rolling out. Life will get back on track, although maybe not back to “normal.” It may take longer than we would like, but the promise of those bright days ahead is undoubtedly strong. I hope that we can go into this New Year and practice what we have learned in 2020.
To do so, let’s look at the silver linings of 2020
• Thousands of strangers volunteered to take the experimental COVID-19 vaccines with potentially unknown risks to themselves, so the safety and efficacy could be tested and proven for both you and me.
• We learned to appreciate the selfless dedication of front-line workers who put their health at risk every day so they can provide services to both you and me. The hospital and medical staff, and the selfless dedication of truck drivers, grocery store workers, service industry workers, farmers and so many more who risked their lives to keep the economy from collapsing.
• We became accustomed to virtual gatherings, weddings, baby showers, birthday celebrations, online learning, remote working thanks to technology such as Zoom calls, and FaceTime video chats. The advances we made in telehealth, remote work and virtual gatherings will outlast the pandemic.
• Many of us may never have to go into an office again. Companies have learned to transition to working remotely and found that office space may even be obsolete and expensive. Although telehealth has been around for decades, 2020 became the year that we finally adapted to this incredible way to better ourselves, both physically and mentally.
• Drive-in movie theatres came back, bringing a sense of community to small towns that had thought they were gone forever.
• A record number of Americans turned out to vote in our national election, pandemic notwithstanding.
• Black women led the nation to the historical Presidential election of 2020 with more than 9 in 10 voting.
• America’s first female vice-president, the first Black vice-president and the first Asian American vice-president, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, came into office.
• Parents became heroes, as they had to navigate working full-time while simultaneously staying home with their kids to navigate through virtual learning.
• Celebrity performers put on free shows that we could enjoy from the comfort of our own living room
• Americans cleaned out the animal shelters as we rushed to adopt and foster pets that were in need.
• Distilleries, both small and large, around the country used their resources to produce hand sanitizer.
• Major companies such as 3M and Apple pooled resources and shifted production to make millions of masks to help keep people safe.
• Ford, GM, Tesla and other automakers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices to help with the pandemic.
• Board games and cards were re-introduced to our living rooms as family and friends came together and replaced screen time with a human connection.
And the list goes on…..
Here is what I am looking forward to in 2021
• Seeing my friends and becoming a better friend
• Traveling outside Rohnert Park.
• Learning something new, including being more patient
• Laughing until my belly hurts
• Maintaining my physical fitness
Statistically speaking, there is going to be the worst year in all of our lives. Perhaps 2020 was the worse. So now that it’s behind us, it can only get better.
You can’t really know happiness without knowing sadness? What is a good day, or year, without experiencing a bad one?
2021 will most likely still be full of ups and downs but we made it through this last year so of course, we will make it through another year, hopefully with more grace, compassion, empathy and patience this time around.
2020 may not have been what we planned. It certainly wasn’t what any of us wanted. But, perhaps, it’s what we needed. The lessons learned this past year are pivotal. Maybe it all needed to happen for us all—humanity—to be on a better path ahead.
Perhaps, 2020 in hindsight really is 20/20.
Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available online at stevenrcampbell.teachable.com. For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5007.