7PM, New Year’s Eve, 2020
It has been a crazy year, for sure. For me, it has actually been a crazy six years ever since George was diagnosed with appendix cancer in 2014.
I think back to my younger days when we would make New Year’s Resolutions at the end of the year. What were those resolutions? Maybe lose some weight, exercise more, take the kids to church regularly (and thus myself as well). To “do better”, whatever that means. As the years waged on, resolutions became less and less important. After all, no one ever really keeps their resolutions for an entire year.
It is not that we still do not have hopes and dreams for what our year will look like. We yearn to know that “this” year will be better than “last” year. Yet we do not have control over everything that takes place in our lives at any given point. [Foolishly, we think we do - - but we don’t.]
From 2014 through 2018, our only hope was that George would be around for one more birthday, one more anniversary, one more holiday season. We celebrated each of those as if it could be the last because we never knew when his date with God would be. At the end of the year we would be grateful we made it and yet glad for that year to be done and over with.
For years we celebrated New Year’s Eve with our close friends, Keith and Bonnie. As “oldsters” we long ago gave up on staying up until midnight. We would go to an early dinner and then take in a movie at a local theater. Typically we were home no later than 10PM… and in bed shortly after that. We would only know that the clock ticked midnight if we were awoken by errant fireworks going off in the neighborhood.
In 2019 all of that changed. It was a horrible year that needed to be laid to rest along with George. Just get the year over with for goodness’ sake! At the end of the year I just wanted to get THROUGH that last day of the year in one piece. I had hopes and dreams for 2020 that would lift my spirits and take me places I hadn’t been in quite a bit of time. I yearned for something more than life as a caregiver yet saddened because I was a widow yet again with too many years ahead of me. Too many years of life to live without a spouse.
Determined to forge ahead, a thrust myself into 2020 with a new spirit, taking on the task of packing up my home, lots of painting and prepping to put our lovely home on the market. I managed to take two trips, one in December 2019 and the other in February 2020. And then…. Just like that…. Everything changed.
The world was attacked by a virus which, over the course of the year, has taken the lives of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands more infected. Lingering side effects felt by so many.
This virus brought the entire world to a screeching halt, forcing lockdowns, sheltering in home, closing businesses and schools and making so many beholden to the government for any assistance they could get.
And yet, this government is so broken that bills promising relief to people is mired hip deep in mud of totally unrelated causes which causes breakdowns and slow downs to occur. After all, these government “servants” are not threatened to lose their job, their income or their health insurance. It’s not a single party issue. It’s a dual party issue so entrenched in hatred and anger that no one can see past their own noses.
On top of the COVID-19 virus and the political divide, we endured an election like no other. The election showed us just how bad the division is. Yet, there was a clear winner. But the current President is clawing and fighting to maintain his “God-dom”, making the divide worse and worse. This is the first time in history (I think) where the outgoing party has yet to concede to the incoming party and making the transition to the new party far more difficult than it should be.
We endured a racially charged year as well. So many injustices between police and black lives. For a few months we faced rally after rally with Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, and Trump events all intermingled in the headlines. All taking place when we were supposed to be social distancing, wearing masks, staying away from people not in our household. Truly, one of the most difficult years in a very long time.
We also endured major fires all over the state, taking homes and lives in their paths. For months we had putrid air quality caused by these massive fires burning all around us. Not only were we sheltering at home for virus reasons, but also because the air outside was not good for us.
To say that we cannot wait to put 2020 behind us is putting it mildly. Fun meme’s showing up say, “for the first time in history we can say 20/20 is hindsight”. Let’s put this year to rest.
Yet we must also take time to speak about that which was good in the year. We saw families spending time together, bonding over riding bicycles or taking walks, playing board games and eating at home. We saw parents truly appreciating teachers as parents had to take on the role of “home school” overseer, keeping an eye on their children who was taking remote learning classes for shortened days. We saw so many crafters step up to make hundreds of thousands of reusable face masks, not only for essential workers but for friends, neighbors and people they didn’t know. We saw essential workers putting in countless hours on the job trying to help those affected by COVID-19, pushing themselves past the exhaustion and past the pain of wearing layers of PPE to keep themselves safe. People stepped up to help others – paying it forward at drive through lines, running errands for those who could not risk going out, providing food or clothing to those in need and so much more. Even when times are tough for people, there are always others stepping in and stepping up to help.
So, while I do not make resolutions for the new year, I do still have hope.
Hope that as the vaccines roll out, we will get a handle on this virus.
Hope that by the end of the year we can take off our masks and see people’s smiles again.
Hope that many people can go back to work, to school, etc. and get things more normal than they’ve been in nearly a year.
Hope that we can begin to bridge the divide of government and of race. That we can see things move in a positive direction.
Hope that some of the good things that happened in 2020 carry through once things “return to normal” (whatever that is) – family bonding time, appreciation for teachers, appreciation for healthcare workers and for those who kept our stores open so we could eat. Treating our neighbors with love and respect and offering a helping hand when we see the need arise.
As we ring out the old year (good riddance, 2020), let’s forge ahead into 2021 and make a positive difference in the world, no matter how big or small the gesture. It is up to each of us to do our part to offer hope and resilience in the world, especially now!
Happy New Year to everyone!