Now that 2020 is officially a matter for historians, it’s worth reflecting that we’ve seen two general reactions to the year’s passing. The first is “good riddance”, and the second is the sober realization that 2020 is gone, but everything else that made it a difficult year—COVID included—is still with us.
Both are completely correct. It’s good to offer ourselves a reset, a new start that’s probably the closest we have to a do-over in life. So here we are on January 1, considering that we want to leave so much behind, and we’re still dealing with so much of what’s come before.
As the calendar rolls over, I’m grateful for the chance to start again, and to give myself a mental clean slate. I’m also disappointed.
There are some things that come close to tying all of humanity together. Athletic events such as the Olympics or the World Cup can. As Americans, we’re often unaware that Presidential elections are closely watched by the other 96% or so of the world’s population, when we don’t really return the attention on the world.
The year that’s gone was a global, unifying event, in a way that athletics, politics, and individual interests aren’t. I’m saddened that the event we all witnessed, and now we as a species all have in common, was a health crisis. I’m also contemplating the fact that different corners of the globe have lived through the pandemic as if we were in nearly different worlds. Some countries seem to be almost back to normal. At the same time, the infection rates where I live are higher than they were during the initial toilet paper panic of March 2020. There’s a vaccine touted by members of Congress, while front line workers are still in line for it, and the world is trying not to hold its breath as nature takes its course, and news of viral mutations come out of the UK.
We get our word “pandemic” from Greek “pan” and “demos”, their words for “all” and “people”. If 2020 was the year of all people living through the novel coronavirus, I’m sincerely hoping 2021 is the year when we find a return, not only to normal, but to better health, and better care for one another.
Best wishes and goodness to you in the New Year.
Featured Image: New Year with Covid-19 by Marco Verch, used under a CC BY 2.0 license