An ode to 2020: The longest year we have lived through

It feels like 2020 has been around for about 10 years, and many of us are celebrating its goodbye and ready to kick this year to the curb. While I am one of these people, excited that 2020 will finally flee us, I have to step back and hope that some good came from this tumultuous year.

First and foremost, I would like to recognize the people who have passed away and suffered from COVID-19. Losing someone, especially if that death is sudden or you could not say your last goodbyes, is one of the most shocking and defeating feelings. We carry the trauma of that death around with us in every step of our way. I only understood this feeling after losing a family member a few years ago. Some words to help? That is not easy, but I can pass on what a therapist told me.

The pain is like carrying a rock in your pocket. It is painful, it is heavy; the pain never goes away, we only get used to it. Over the years I have found this to be true.

From that note, we collectively suffered and lost something this year, even if it was not a person. We had to make decisions on whether we should set aside certain freedoms to reduce infecting our communities or continue so we can keep jobs open. Some had to stop their travels, perhaps not seeing family members or partners.

My only hope is that we can partake in inner reflections, see what we have learned about ourselves and about the impact every part of our community has.

Personally, I see resilience as humanity’s first strength. Doctors, nurses, at-home moms and dads, waiters, business owners, flight attendants, teachers, grocery store employees, entertainers – all have fought their way through and did what they thought is best, even when things seemingly headed for the worst.

We have also learned about our ability to adapt. Everyone wants to return to a normal state, but before we can do so, we have to live and work through the issues in front of us. And then we have to use the knowledge we absorbed because we never know when we will have to use it again. At least let us take with us our knowledge of how to make banana bread and chalk art.

I do not think we could have gotten through this without our support systems, whoever or whatever they may be. So let us thank them and make their importance known.

Lastly, I hope 2021 will be a year of hope and betterment. But in case it is not, let us reflect on 2020 and utilize what we learned to better ourselves and expand our capacity for patience and understanding.

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