Christmas is in a few days which means the end of the year is fast approaching. 2020 was one for the record books. Between Covid-19, the election, and all that came before, between, and after, it was a year no one will ever forget.
Personally I went through so many changes, at such a rapid pace, that I’m still absorbing it all. The entire year was filled with endings and beginnings, sometimes doing so with the tenacity of a spider on it’s web. 2020 began as a year of fear and ended on the promise of hope.
We all suffered in some way this year. We couldn’t escape it. As news got out about a virus in China that was killing people, the gnawing itch of curiosity quickly morphed into the realization that you could be next. We put on masks and stockpiled toilet paper and paper towels. We bought tons of food we would normally never eat just because there were only 2-3 items left on the shelf and, well, you better get it before it’s gone. For far too many of us in America we watched as over 300,000 of our citizens lost their lives to Covid. Parents, grandparents, friends, enemies. The true heroes of the day were the doctors and nurses on the frontlines, doing their best to help patients. They were the front line, facing a virus that was ravaging the USA. They are still doing it as I type this.
Our teachers had to learn a new way to teach students. Those same students got to stay home but the school came to them. New challenges crept up every single day. District administrators all too often didn’t understand the true plights of teachers and students. Special education entered the dark ages for many students. We won’t know the true cost of remote learning for some time to come but some paid a heavy price. Depression, anxiety, and suicides went up this year. We all know this. Students who would have been in the classroom disappeared. District enrollments are down. God bless ’em, but some of our leaders relied on a matrix that seemed to change as often as the wind blows.
For this blogger it was a year of immense writers block. How could I write about all this? I struggled. I wasn’t a teacher. Wasn’t a student. I wasn’t either of those when I wrote before but I was often in on the ground floor of whatever was going on. How could I do that from the townhouse? I was powerless. People messaged me, begging me to do more. To write about this or that. I lost my balance and didn’t know what to say. Should students be in school? Absolutely. But not if it could lead to the loss of more lives. Should businesses open up again? Movie theaters? State government? We found out the answer to these questions in the past month as the virus went from a burning ember to an inferno.
It was the year of Zoom. As we watched our work turn into a cheap parody of the Brady Bunch opening we adapated. We survived. But many didn’t. Many lost their jobs. In my line of work the heart is a functioning business. I would talk to businesses who lost everything. Gone, in a span of months. But we also reconnected. Some of us with ancient faces from our pasts.
2020 was a year of denial for many. Far too many which made the virus worse. We saw many flat-out deny Covid. It was a conspiracy, launched by the Chinese. It was Big Brother using a virus to track us and watch us. It was control. It was part of a master plan. At least that’s what Q-Anon told us with as much clarity as a convenience store urinal. Crackpot doctors popped up as overnight sensations on Youtube until they were shut down. Not because they were right but because they were contributing to the eventual loss of more lives. Now we are all going to be injected with microchips which is the TRUE number of the beast. Who profits? The prophets who turned churches into a place of fear.
We watched as a man was brutally murdered in an arrest and the country turned upside down. Long brewing hatred came to roost as a people said “No more!” After months of being cooped up in our homes many ventured out of their homes to protest. For African-Americans their anxiety became our anxiety. Issues of race and equality came to the forefront, as they should, and we questioned who we are as a country. For racists it was the end of the world. For the rest of us it was a parting of the clouds and letting the sun shine an ugly truth on all of us. That truth was simple- we can, must, and have to be different.
The United States became the epicenter of the coronavirus. There are many reasons for this but the number one reason was the lack of leadership by President Trump. For those same self-same deniers, Trump’s “joke” about injecting yourself with Lysol was him “just kidding”. The man could do no wrong. He was the Messiah of our times projecting lies and bile from his bully pulpit. He lied to us, to the Americans he was supposed to lead, from the very beginning. By the time the election came along in November enough Americans said “No more!” to the liar-in-chief. The true cost of the election is evident as friendships were forever torn asunder over politics.
We will have a new President in a few weeks. A President who will inherit the mess Trump left us. A President from Delaware. Will he be a great President? We simply don’t know yet. Many Presidents in America don’t become legendary until they walk through the fire and prevent its spread from further destruction. I hope Joe Biden will be that man. Time will tell.
I sit here typing in a different place than I was the beginning of this year. Chances are very good I will be in a different place a year from now. I learned a lot this year but the biggest lesson was this- make sure you are in a good place with yourself because you have to expect the unexpected. Heal your heart and mind and plant yourself firmly in the ground because a mighty wind is blowing. Tell those you love how much you love them. Reconnect even if you can’t see them. Don’t live your life through the lens of politics. Find common ground with those who think differently from you. Don’t base your religion on the politics of the day. Truth is a matter of perception and there are those who can and will easily manipulate you if you let them. If you are going to love do it completely. Don’t put conditions on it. Don’t live your life in fear and insecurities and doubt. Figure it out, deal with it, and move on. If you can’t, get help. It IS that simple. Find out who your people are. Lean on them and be there for them in the bad times. Tell them how much they mean to you every chance you get.
Today is the longest night of the year. 2020 felt a lot like that. But the light comes back, every single day. It is okay to hope. To feel. To love. It’s ok to take new chances. It’s ok to sacrifice for the greater good. These are the things I learned this year. It’s going to be ok.