Looking back at the year that was 2020, I can’t but be filled with such mixed emotions. In some ways 2020 seemed to move in slow motion, with life blurring and dancing between the lines of reality and that of some sick twisted horror novel that Stephen King might have written. In other ways, the speed of how life changed for all of us as we adjusted to a new normal was quite dizzying, to say the least. But in all ways, 2020 will be etched in the history books for future generations to read, dissect, and learn from the lessons from those who lived it.
Although there were many notable headlines that splashed across the nightly news and across our Twitter feeds, none had us glued to our devices more than the stories surrounding COVID-19. This invisible virus terrorized the world more than any human terrorist organization could ever do. It stopped the entire world in its tracks. The everyday things we took for granted: family gatherings, travel, dining out, attending sporting events, going to the movies, etc., were abruptly stripped from our lives.
COVID-19 was either seen as “not real”, “nothing to worry about”, or was seen as a monster just waiting for its next prey. Many families across the country lost loved ones, mine included. Many COVID-19 survivors were left with lingering symptoms for months after they had so-called recovered. Although, I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to be hospitalized, it still took me 9 months to get back to my pre-COVID-19 physical strength. And if you were lucky enough not to be infected or to have been classified as asymptomatic, people suffered in other devastating ways with the loss of income, businesses, housing, and battles with depression and substance abuse.
2020, would also be remembered as the year of the “Lost Class of 2020”. High School and College Seniors from across the country dealt with cancelled proms, cancelled graduations, the stress of switching from in-person class to a new ZOOM way of learning. However, the Class of 2020 had some unique experiences that no other graduating class will have. Family and friends created pop-up socially distanced graduation ceremonies, graduation drive-by parades, virtual graduation ceremonies and more. If the Class of 2020 can survive these disappointments and turn them into creative positive moments, these kids have a bright future ahead of them.
The global pandemic also had millions of professional working people suddenly grappling with the notion of being confined to working from home for the first time in their lives. Although the “Working From Home” culture has been gaining momentum over the past several years, 2020 caused much stress as newly WFH professions had to juggle home and office life in the blink of an eye. ZOOM meetings and webinars created a new way of working life. We learned new terms, new etiquette, and the joys of working in our sweats and yoga pants. For me, it felt like my friends finally understood what I have been dealing with for the past 12 years as a WFH professional.
Yes, COVID-19 had a way of redefining our world in more ways than one. Who can forget the “Toilet Paper Apocalypse”, the maddening panic buying, and the gallons upon gallons of hand sanitizers and bleach sprays we hunted for. Masks became the new normal accessory (never in a million years would I have thought I would be matching a mask to my outfit of the day) and social distancing quickly had us keeping a 6′ space between us and the strangers around us.
2020 was more than just a COVID-19 nightmare, it was filled with a sense of social justice, nationwide protests and riots demanding police reform, and Black Lives Matters became the movement of a new generation. Tik Tok became more than a “dance” social media platform and blew up into one of the world’s most used social media apps.
The 2020 Election gave us more political talking points than we could have ever wanted. The country was in a dead-heat divide between Trump supporters and the Biden supporters. If COVID-19 wasn’t bad enough, the elections were the cherry on the top of a nightmarish year. Trump boat parades, virtual Town Hall debates, mail in ballots, accusations of election fraud, election interference, and voter suppression all came together like a perfect political storm. Thankfully, we have a four year break from this sort of madness.
If it wasn’t a global pandemic or hotly contested election season, Mother Nature decided that she would join the party with one of the most active hurricane seasons in history. Yes, only in 2020 would we need to check off those Greek alphabet names and the year that I finally found my name on something and it had to be a Hurricane! Go figure.
Least we forget, 2020 had a few astrological and other unique things in store for us. 2020 was a leap year, we had Elon Musk launch Space X into the stratosphere, Halloween landed on a Saturday complete with a full moon, and the year ended with a rare conjuncture of planets creating a “Christmas Star” in the heavens above us.
We said goodbye to many famous and influential people. It seems like years ago, but 2020 began with the tragic helicopter crash and death of Kobe Bryant. We lost musical geniuses such as Eddie Van Halen, and mourned the loss of social justice powerhouse, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Yes, 2020 was quite the year for sure. However, it gave us many glimpses of silver linings and things to appreciate. We learned to slow down and find pleasure in the simpler things in life. 2020 taught us that no matter how much we try to control things, life has a way of showing us differently. Many of us found just how grateful we were for the things we had, and for the things we always took for granted.
Nothing is ever guaranteed or promised to us. So enjoy all that life has to offer, live life to its fullest, and say yes to new adventures, new challenges, and to making more meaningful memories with those you love and cherish.