2020: A Retrospective

I recently saw a sign that said “2020. Written by Stephen King. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.”

Apt, yes?

The calm before the storm.

Well, yes and no. For all its tragedies, fears, stresses, economic disasters, fires. floods, storms, inconveniences and annoyances, 2020 could have been a lot worse. In fact, history has recorded quite a number of years that were much worse than this one. 1944 was the worst year of WW II; June 8, D-Day, saw the deaths of almost 7000 allied soldiers (British, Canadian and American) in that 24-hour period alone.

1918 was the start of the Spanish flu. That plague went on to kill 50 million people world-wide. Whole communities were wiped out.

And let’s not forget WW I. On August 22, 1914, 27000 were killed during The Battle of the Frontiers. That was a single day’s losses. In total, that war killed 1.35 million soldiers; that number doesn’t include civilian deaths.

I could give many other examples, but you get the idea.

In the scheme of things, 2020 just wasn’t that bad. In common with others, though, I did a lot of moaning and complaining. But really, I haven’t been that badly affected. It’s more precise to say that I’ve been inconvenienced.

I kept my job. I didn’t lose anyone to coronavirus. I had to stay locked up and quarantined for weeks, but Spouse and I are both introverts. It wasn’t really that difficult.

Given that situation, a spotlight has been focussed on some things to which we need to pay attention; it’s like we’ve been given a second chance. Let’s not blow it.

So in that spirit, here are some realisations, appreciations and habits I hope to take with me:

The worst may be over. For now.

1. Respect for nature. We don’t need to spread ourselves over every single millimetre of this planet. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is the attitude that lead to (probably) bat, snake and pangolin DNA combining to bring about coronavirus.

2. Mindful travelling. (https://mindfultravelco.com/5-steps-to-mindful-travel/). Trying to cram an entire continent into a 10-day package tour where the point is to post as many braggy photos to Instagram as possible? That’s not travel. To me, that sounds like a lot of gobbling and very little appreciation. Much of this type of travel is causing extreme damage to the very things people want to see. And the environmental injury is becoming enormous.

3. Solidarity. We’ve all been hit by this. The whole world. Focussing on our commonalities is much better than focussing on our differences.

4. We are a lot more capable than we have let ourselves become. We figured out some amazing, innovative, and environmentally friendly solutions to the coronavirus issues. And those vaccines! So amazing and so fast!

5. There are wonderful people from all walks of life who have stepped forward during this crisis. And sometimes, I was very surprised by who did (and who didn’t). For all we think we know people, we really don’t …

What do you think?

18 thoughts on “2020: A Retrospective”

  1. You’re right, there is no doubt 2020 was a strange year, but things could have been a lot worse. My husband and I kept our jobs and have been fortunate to be able to work from home. We know some people that got COVID-19, but thankfully none of them passed away. We’ve had a lot more free time on our hands this year, which has made me slow down and think carefully about what I want out of my career and life in general. I’m with you on your above thoughts, especially when it comes to respecting nature. It’s been great to see so many people enjoying the outdoors and using the trails this year, but at the same time, it breaks my heart to see what impact that has had on the environment sometimes (e.g. more trash, going off the trail in sensitive areas).

    1. Thank you. 🙂 I’ve certainly done my share of complaining, but in an historical context, it has been one of the lesser “worst years.” Some people have really been hit hard with unemployment and have also lost loved ones to coronavirus, but I think the vast majority of us (in Canada, at least) haven’t faced those crippling events.
      I keep feeling that coronavirus is sending a message to us to be a little less bone-headed about the environment.

  2. Very well thoughtful article Lynette.2020 sure was a bad phase for the whole world but we learned to respect family get together, homemade food, work ethics, importance to follow the rules of mother nature and most importantly, we learned how important human life is!

  3. Amen to all that Lynette. I think we all need to practice more kindness, thoughtfulness, mindfulness and gratitude. It is like that letter to the individual, business or manager we are all so prone to write when we do not feel we have gotten the service product or respect we deserve. It is fine to write that thoughtful letter of complaint, but how many times do we take the time to thank some individual, business or manager when they get it right. I did that in December to our local restaurant and totally floored the Owner. We have to be more thoughtful in our lives and in our deeds. Thanks for emphasizing that Lynette. Allan

    1. I agree completely. It’s important to remember to give good reviews, too, and just generally to give positive feedback when we can. As you have pointed out, the owner was floored. I bet he went home feeling pretty good. One of my aunties (she’s long gone now) used to remind me to “keep my face in the sun,” (stay positive). Thanks, Allan.

  4. I had just seen that saying the other day and I did have to laugh at it, because it does seem apt as this last year has seemed utterly jam packed with crazy and impossible. It has allowed those moments of goodness and brightness to float to the top, but it has still been crazy. I’m much like you in that, so far, this has had very little impact on me directly, but I’ve been close enough to others that have been hit hard and seen some of their struggles, that it is impossible to see it as not that bad. I do agree that this has shown us a lot of really important things, but I can only hope that enough have seen those things and actually take them on board and learn from them.

    1. It’s pretty funny, but it got me thinking, too. I know that many people have really suffered terribly throughout this wretched pandemic, and it’s not my intent to minimise their pain and struggles. But most of us have probably been, for the most part, okay. (And I’ve stopped myself from grumbling by thinking of those who are far worse off.)
      Yes, I also hope that people take the lessons on board and learn from them.

  5. I agree with you on the basis that 2020 wasn’t that bad in comparison to other years. We’ve never really had to sacrifice like generations before us, not even in 2020. I posted about it during last year, citing many things to still be grateful for. My 4 grandparents were all born between the years 1904 & 1913. They lived through all those horrific years you mentioned. That was real sacrifice.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    1. Hi Lori, yes, very true. The sacrifices of that earlier generation, were, for the most part, so selfless. They just did what they had to and didn’t complain. We are so privileged but it seems we complain about everything.

  6. An excellent piece, Lynette, not only placing the year in context, but urging some more considerate and thoughtful behaviour. With you all the way here.

  7. Wow… thank you for writing exactly what I needed to read today! I agree with you on all accounts, but I needed a reminder.
    Anyone who thinks 2021 will just magically erase the awful parts of 2020 are just kidding themselves. We have to put the work in.
    Great post, Lynette!

    1. I only just saw your comment, so my most sincere apologies for the late reply!

      Thank you very much. I agree totally that we have to put the work in. Right now, people are so anxious to resume regular life, and it seems like we really haven’t learned anything at all. Those colossal cruise ships are getting ready to put to sea again, off-loading all their garbage and effluence into the oceans …

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