I keep hearing podcast hosts, new casters, and other people expressing disdain for 2020. They use phrases like:
“I’m so glad it’s over.”
“Nothing good came from 2020.”
“Let’s just forget it and move toward something better in 2021.”
“I’m sure everyone agrees with me.”
I totally understand the sentiments of disdain. With all due respect, I don’t agree necessarily agree.
Where is the good?
Yes, for the first time in decades, centuries even, some of the most horrific and tragic things happened in 2020. However, if you ask our ancestors, they might suggest 2020 wasn’t the worst year ever. Likewise, there are people in today’s world, who found positive things in 2020.
Some people were able to escape oppressive jobs or unhealthy relationships. Introverts got a reprieve from a primarily extroverted world. Some people had babies or got married or engaged. Many people achieved great accomplishments and experienced important life transitions. These types of folk don’t look on 2020 with the same eyes as the news casters and podcast hosts who disdain it. For them, 2020 was more than the obvious stress and tragedy of discord, illness, and death.
Forgetting is an impossible task because your brain stores every memory. Suppress it? Sure. However, you cannot fully forget. I’m by no means suggesting we ignore those that have befallen tragedy and loss in such an awful year. Yes. Express disdain! Likewise, look for ways to transform the memory so the world and you can benefit from it.
A healthy approach to 2020 is attempting to learn from its horrors so we don’t repeat them, to discover new truths or rediscover old ones, and to care for those for whom the year was so tragic.
Here are some examples:
We all understood the value of relationship before 2020, but how much more do we understand after experiencing isolation from family, friends, co-workers, and loved ones? Choose to mend relationships, create new ones, and nurture the ones you have. Learn to practice grace, understanding, empathy, and love. Don’t take for granted lunches with friends, movie theaters, community, gathering to worship, sporting events, and other social gatherings. Focus on the moments you have and cherish them.
Human Rights, that is, treating every human as valuable and equal, became a very important issue. 2020 is an opportunity to explore how kind we are and how well we love those different from us. Commit to learning about those who are different from you. Learn to respect their differences and find common ground.
Political strife and discord became the norm. Hating the person from the other side and expressing your opinion before you took time to listen to their became the norm. Maybe after 2020, we can learn the value of having different perspectives and worldviews. Through our differences we become stronger if we are able to disagree well and find value in opposing views, or at minimum, empathy for those who think so. Likewise, perhaps we can find a third and better solution! It is the backbone of our democracy. Learn to listen and hear.
These are but a few of the many examples from which we can learn that 2020’s tragedy and discord brought us. (I didn’t even discuss how over eating and over drinking has affected the mental and physical health of people. Have you gained the 2020 – 20 lbs?)
My Challenge for Us All
Look back at 2020 as not a year to ignore, forget, or from which to run. Look at the pain and struggle as a way to grow and love others. Make promises to avoid these mistakes in the future. Commit to learning from it, so we won’t have to live through another year like it. Make yourself a better person so the world can be a better place. It is possible.