“It seems as though the time to reflect on the dumpster fire that was 2020 falls in the typical New Year’s Resolution timeframe ranging from about the 28th of December to the 2nd of January. Especially with all that this past year has entailed, we all want 2020 well behind us, forgotten in a bolted meat freezer buried six feet under.
But, for most of us, the start of 2021 is not looking much different. We’re still semi-confined. We’re still separated from many loved ones. Interacting with strangers remains a foreign concept.
a symbolic celebration
The celebration of the new year feels merely symbolic at best. Although we don’t have that desired distance, there has been some growth. I don’t know if any of us are quite “used to it”. But I would say we’ve all gotten a bit wiser with how we navigate it. I find it important, for that reason, to interact with the experiences we’ve all endured. Let’s not shut them out immediately to take on the new chapter ahead.
The first months of quarantine demonstrated the paradox of the pandemic. It has been a global experience. Yet, most of us never felt so alone. Somehow the act of witnessing so many people having to adjust to the “new norms” in their own respective fields brought some warmth to the madness. Doing so ensures us we’re all trying to figure it out from our own homes.
interrupted by his cat
Seeing professors give lectures from their bedrooms, and news commentators explaining political rundowns from their family home’s basement reminded me of some video that went viral. It had a British MP being interrupted by his cat during his parliamentary address (video titled “Rocco, put your tail down!”, adorably worth a watch).
When first coming home in March, I adored the hours spent looking up celebrities/ popular figures’ social medias to see how each were stuck in the same boat as the rest of us. Everyone was stuck at home, bored, confused, anxious, with family or alone, finding innovative means of staying entertained. Each person seemed in a similar mental state.
BANANA BREAD TREND
I was a personal fan of the banana bread trend. Hence, baking wholesome comfort food seemed a cathartic way to cope with the chaos.
No matter how high up the ladder these people were, no matter their fame or clout, nothing in their possession could prevent them from being affected by this uneasy reality. We all have had to seek ways to cope with a period of uncertainty. The world froze, and we each had to make sense of it— for some, via banana bread.
disparities reflect greater inequalities
That said, the tolls it took on some’s lives were inexpressibly heavier than on others. I confess I speak from a point of absolute privilege. I did not have to witness a fraction of the agony of this pandemic unlike so many others who had no option to look away. These disparities reflect the greater inequalities, and they continue to tarnish the pride of so many countries.
My point of interest for this series is knowing every single body was touched somehow. That realization has to stimulate a greater sense of what it means to be human. How we’ve lived these past months has been navigated by a sense of human empathy and been equally so hard due to a longing for human connection.
A CHAPTER EACH
I like to think that, in 30 years’ time when we’re well into our maturing age, coming across any stranger from our generation, we will be able to say: “remember March 2020”. I know therein lies a definite conversation surrounding our shared experience— the idea that we each could write a chapter of a book recapping what this year has profoundly meant. So, I now am curious to get a taste of what those chapters would entail.
About the Article
A look back over varying views on the recently ended year 2020 and thoughts going forward.