I recently saw a sign that said “2020. Written by Stephen King. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.”
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:
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 …
I am in the midst of returning home after an overseas trip. I have a strong sense of getting back just ahead of the drawbridge being pulled up, even though no deadline has been given. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday in a press conference: it’s time to come home.
In common with many of my compatriots, I have travelled internationally a lot, have lived in other countries, and have served in the military. All of these experiences have made me very aware of how fortunate I am to be able to come home, especially to a country that cares about its citizens and that doesn’t see us a commodity to be expended. It’s nothing but an accident of birth, but that difference has given me multitudinous advantages and opportunities.
So over the next couple of days, I will be navigating airports and aircraft with lots of hand sanitizer, hand washing, and distancing. I feel fine, but I will need to go into self-isolation for 14 days to ensure my health and that of others.
And, for the first time ever, I will be working from home. A new experience.