2020 was a shocker. For hundreds of thousands it was devastating, heartbreaking and life-changing. While there’s been a myriad written on the year from hell and without diminishing the pain and suffering of so many, there’s also an opportunity to reflect on what’s brought us together this year. We can think about some of the positives that emerged from the year as we leave it behind—because life’s too short to just concentrate on the bleak and there’s still a lot of amazing out there.
- Our hands may have been forced as Rona raged, but we did slow down and breathed a little slower and a little more deeply. Sometimes we actually stopped. As activities and commitments were cancelled, the weight of expectations lowered and there was a chance to get onto things we mightn’t otherwise have done. Getting on top of the ‘to do’ list, reading, spending unrushed time with family or friends, stepping off the crazy carousel even if just for while.
- Community spirit was amazing. Choirs sang, kindness and good deeds flourished, and people were (largely) positive and worked to support each other.
- We found joy in simple tasks and learned to appreciate some of the things we’d normally take for granted, like walking outside, visiting friends or giving a hug. Many people learned to bake bread.
- Homeless people were supported like never before and many were provided with homes, though huge challenges remain.
- We adapted to challenges and we used technology in positive ways to keep connected and to keep businesses alive and to teach children. Zoom became a new verb.
- While overseas trips were off the table, we rediscovered our own backyards and saw our towns and countries with wider, more appreciative eyes. In many cases, travel slowed down and we took time to smell the roses in someone else’s gardens.
- Governments and countries worked together collaboratively and research and knowledge was shared.
- The work of health care workers and teachers has never been more appreciated.
- The way we work was transformed and working from home became an accepted norm. It may never be the same.
- Nature got a bit of respite from climbing carbon emissions (well, after from those devastating fires) as travel eased and cities closed down. Wildlife flourished and cities were transformed.
- We practised better hygiene and learned to wash our hands properly, meaning other flus and diseases actually decreased.
- We realised that we can do things really differently if we really have to. Let’s hope we can heed those lessons into the future and adapt our way of living to protect us from the next threat that’s lurking just about the corner—our changing climate. At least for that, we already have the vaccine and the cure—we just have to actually use them.
It seems many of us hope as soon as we hit 2021, things will miraculously turn around. It won’t be that simple and there’s a hell of a way to go, but let’s hope we can take the lessons of the year and carry them forward.
What’s been the best thing for you this year?
Here’s hoping we can leave the negatives behind but carry forward the positives. Let’s remember to smell the roses, and here’s cheers to a better 2021 for the world.