So, who’s sad to see 2020 go? Show of hands! Anyone? Perhaps someone in the back? Huh, no one is raising their hand. That’s an intriguing turn of events. I thought that there would be one misguided soul tearfully sing Auld Lang Syne with a raised glass of champagne.
Well, look at that! The glasses are raised, and there are plenty of single finger salutes. I’m sure they’re just waving good-bye and not making an obscene gesture. Who would do that?
There are seven billion people on this planet, and I don’t think that there’s a single precious soul who’ll miss the year that was… Uh… I’m struggling to find the right superlative. Are there any superlatives? Clearly, I’m not that precious, and champagne makes my tummy hurt. Also, alcohol makes me overly giggly and then weepy. Sometimes I giggle while I sob, which is such an attractive combination.
I don’t tolerate certain substances very well, and I try to avoid them at all costs. No one needs to pick this mess off the sidewalk. I’m not saying that has ever happened, but someday I’ll tell you about my grandmother’s funeral. That was the last time I ingested alcoholic beverages. It’s a personal lifestyle choice but to each their own.
Oh, good riddance 2020! Am I right or am I mostly correct?
Usually, when the year ends, I’m somewhat ambivalent about the whole event. The earth rotated again. Yay! Go science. Whoop. That was super energetic. A year ended, cool. Another year has begun, brilliant. It’s going to take me six months to get used to writing a new date, but I’ll get there eventually. Is it worthy of a fireworks show?
Fine, I enjoy the sparkly lights with the energy of a kid who ate too much sugar and is experiencing their first hallucination. It’s fun. I enjoy it. My dog, not so much. But I’m not Captain Buzzkill. I like a good party for whatever reason, but I don’t buy into the whole new year new me idea.
If you do, cool. I wish you nothing but success, and I’m sure you’re going to crush every single one of your new year’s resolutions. You’ve got this!
For me, typically, I say good-bye to the old year and just get on with the day because it is just another day. Ah but, typically is the keyword because this past year has been anything but typical. I’m happy to see it go. I’m cheering on its departure.
Good-bye 2020, and please let the door wallop you on the way out. I hope it hits you hard enough to leave a bruise, but don’t expect any sympathy from me, you little bastard. I will not render first aid. Seek help elsewhere! Go. Begone. Shew, you blight on all that is good, decent, and sparkly.
I’m glad it’s gone, but I’m under no delusion that things will magically go back to normal. The problems of this last year are still very present in our lives. They will be around for a significant amount of time. That’s a bit depressing, and it’s not something you want to hear. It’s not something I want to say! Thinking about it is a big old kick to the abdomen, and I’m a little winded
Didn’t I just say that I wasn’t Captain Buzzkill? So, I might’ve called that one wrong.
I tried to look back at the year that was and review the highlights. It…I…Wow, it was enough to leave me breathless. Did all of that happen in one year? It was all a blur so, I googled the top news stories of 2020 because it would seem I’m a sucker for self-flagellation. Also, my memory isn’t what I thought it was. I’ve forgotten so much! Some of the stories feel like they happened years ago, not months.
The brush fires in Australia, for example. Yep, that happened in 2020 so, adding a pandemic on top of that must be a real kicker. You had to face one devastating event, and then you had to take on another monster? Damn Australia, you’ve got some mega-strength in ya. I’m in awe! And a little intimidated because you’re kind of a badass.
What else? Black Lives Matter swept the United States and went global. A lot of people came together to say enough is enough. People don’t deserve to die because of the colour of their skin. Everyone deserves respect, dignity, and basic human decency should be universal.
Honestly, somethings should be self-evident, but until they are, we need to keep at it and level the playing field. Equality for all doesn’t mean less for you or me. It’s not a pizza. There’s plenty to go around. It’s okay to share.
There were trivial events like a couple of Royals walking away from the family business. Actually, I respect it. If something isn’t working for you or bringing you happiness, and you healthfully make changes? Good on ya. It would be nice to do it privately, and not have a thousand voices offering their unsolicited opinions, but our world is a funny place.
This past year also gave us murder hornets, gators on drugs, and a transatlantic dust storm. We sat through political unrest that bled across borders. Influential leaders lost their battles with cancer, COVID, and other illnesses or injuries. They joined a growing list of lives lost or taken this year, and it’s a lot to process.
If 2020 had a slogan, it would be: It’s all a bit too much.
I could write ten pages on how hard the year was for all of us, but I don’t want to focus on the negatives. It would be a lot easier! Goodness me, I could follow that rabbit hole all week and not break a sweat. It’s just, there have been too many negatives, and I’m tired of looking at the darkness. I’m craving some light, and something sparkly.
I had to run to the grocery store this morning, and at the checkout, I wished the cashier a happy new year. She said thank you, but she wasn’t hopeful. The situation we’re in will go on for a while yet, so she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. Happy new year? Nah, but you have a good day.
Yes, my friendly cashier, you’re right. This isn’t going to get better anytime soon because this isn’t a fairytale. We’re not Cinderella, and when the clock strikes midnight, everything won’t go back to normal. But what if it could? What if, for just a few hours, we pretended that this new year will bring renewed hope?
What if we take a few minutes to look back at this year and avoid the negatives? What if we focus on the positives? What if… I think that’s the moment I made a conscious decision to live in a state of delusion and denial. It’s not a permanent move. I’m not relocating my sanity. I’m just visiting for a little while.
But I’m not the pollyanna-ish type of person who lives in the realm of what if’s. I’m a realist, and as such, my attention is drawn to cold hard facts over flights of fantasy. The facts are clear, the science is real, and reality is set in stone. It takes a conscious decision to change my mindset so, that’s what I’m doing right now, as we’re connecting. I’m asking the what if’s, so I can shift my view from the darkest of days to the mere possibility of sunshine.
To do that, I’m going to break my own rule and look back at the year we’ve had. What I’m not going to do? I’m not looking at the overwhelming negatives. I’m going to shift the rubble until I find at least one gem. There is one! A simple positive that momentarily outshines its counterpart.
If nothing else, this year has taught me one incredibly valuable lesson. It’s reminded me of something so blatantly obvious that I could slap myself. See, I’m realizing that I’ve been taking a lot of things for granted. Not just things! I’ve taken people for granted too. I didn’t know I was doing it. It was so subtle and subversive that it took on a life of its own. I turned down dinner invites because there would always be another one at some point. I didn’t take that road-trip with a friend because the open road will always be there. There’s a list of things I didn’t do because I assumed I could do them tomorrow.
But then I woke up one morning in March, and the world had to shut down. All of those things I put off, the people I didn’t spend time with, are now very far away. I miss them terribly, and this sounds like I’m saying hello to the darkness, my old friend. I’m not because I now see how lucky I am to have these people in my life! This year has forced me to stop and feel the connections, bonds that I so flippantly took for granted.
Sure, I spent a lot of time wallowing because I wasted so much of my time banking on too many tomorrows and laters. But now, in a moment of reckless optimism, I’m choosing to look at it another way. Yes, I can’t get those moments back, but I can appreciate the moment I have right now. In this moment, I feel grateful for the simple fact that I have people in my life who invited me to dinner and wanted to go on road-trips with me.
These people are still in my life, and that’s a gift! As much as missing them hurts, the love I have for them is now at the forefront of my mind. It’s not hidden behind a thousand different distractions. All of the tomorrows and laters aren’t getting my way. I can feel the connection, the love, and I appreciate how fortunate I am to have these people in my life.
I want, or need to believe that, in the next twelve months, we’ll all be together again. The vaccines are slowly getting out into our communities, and we can start to build up a layer of protection. That layer can get stronger and, when it does, this virus will lose a lot of its power.
That means we have a reason to hope! We can hold on for a little while longer because the day will come when we’re together again. We can say yes more often because now we know how important it is to not take things for granted. There will be a celebration with fireworks and earmuffs for sensitive animal ears. We’ll raise a glass to everyone who sacrificed so much and thank each other for caring.
Does it sound like I’m reaching? Am I spending too much time in a delusional state of hopefulness and gratitude? That’s quite possible, and I’ll walk back into my reality-based mindset soon enough. But, this place feels like a vacation on some tropical island. Peaceful. Relaxing. Recharging. Maybe I’ll stay here a little longer.
Happy new year, my friend. Here’s hoping 2021 has some pleasant surprises waiting for us.