Well, that sure was one hell of a year, wasn’t it?
I have to admit that a year ago today I had no inkling of the crazy year we were all about to collectively experience. Personally, the most exciting things I thought would happen for me would be a trip home to PEI to visit my grandparents for their 50th wedding anniversary and maybe visit Vancouver over the summer. Get to the beach, see some friends, keep my job.
I didn’t predict a global life-changing pandemic, mass lockdowns or transferring jobs from Williams Lake to 100 Mile, but here we are. It was a year of change and upheaval – as if the world made a collective resolution to cram as many events as possible into one year.
There was hardship and suffering many across the world are still dealing with, death on a scale unheard of since the 1920s and the discontinuation of old traditions and the birth of new ones. Handshakes and big events gave way to face masks and online meetings, events and teaching. It’s a year many are quite eager to see consigned to the history books and our collective memory.
The hope of a new year is always one we seem to look forward to. Many of us, myself included, associate it with a time to make resolutions, promises to ourselves to be healthier, take up some activity or any number of commitments. We see the new year as a way to leave all the baggage of the old year behind in favour of the bright future.
That will be a little harder this year. COVID-19 won’t disappear with the new year. Indeed, recent news from the UK makes it clear we’ve still got a ways to go to contain this virus and return the world to the way it was. While vaccines are being distributed, most of us will have to wait months before we get it.
Rather than disregarding this year, though, I propose we learn from it. Take the lessons of public health and caring for others forward and implement them in our daily lives so we can avoid another pandemic as bad as this. Reconsider our careers and how we can do them more safely. Continue to make frequent use of the technology that allowed people like me to be present for Christmas, even hundreds of kilometres away from my family.
The year being 2021 will not magically fix our problems. The grass won’t be greener on the other side. Unless we work to make it a better year. Do what we can in our own lives to achieve our goals, be happy and lead lives that we can all be proud of. 2021 will bring with it new challenges and obstacles but we’ll be able to meet those goals and surpass them.
After all, we all survived 2020, didn’t we?