I’m not going to tell you about all the positive things that came out of this cluster-fuck of a year.
Not to say that I’m not all about gratitude and finding the silver linings – I definitely am. If you read my blog, you know I’m constantly working on myself to feel joy in the present and all that.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.
It’s not that I think 2020 was a wasted year or a year I wish never happened.
No, it was much more than that.
I have never experienced the fragility of the human species as I have this year. As a species we collectively felt terrified, infuriated, incapacitated, humbled, vulnerable, and at times hopeless.
Our false exterior of bravado as the Top of the Food Chain was shattered as a tiny virus brought entire nations to their knees. We huddled like frightened rabbits in our dens, terrified even to touch our most cherished loved ones for fear of finding ourselves alone behind hospital plastic, gasping our final breaths in front of impotent doctors in paper masks.
We raged, shrieking and igniting in the streets, rallying against what we could not control. Centuries of oppression boiled over the top. People shielded their soft mortality with signs and slogans. Divisiveness and hate bubbled up because we didn’t know where else to point our angry, helpless fingers. Our fear drove us to pin our futures on the backs of flimsy candidates with fierce desperation. We turned our outrage and frustration on each other.
Who can you blame when the villain is microscopic?
We sat alone with our worry and boredom for so long we became forced to see ourselves and our relationships in harsh clarity. Friendships faded, marriages dissolved, families became estranged. We had to work at staying connected to anyone living outside our home. In the end, we were left with the people who truly belong by our side.
As the months dragged on, we were forced to weigh the risks of this unknown illness with the need for companionship and physical touch. How much is a grandmother willing to gamble for a hug from her pink-cheeked grandchild? Which friends do I risk my life to be near? How long will my body last when it is starved for affection? Whose love am I left with after months of solitary confinement? Is my life worth the momentary hug of a preteen grandson growing up too fast; or will I still be waiting long past the age he’s willing to rush into my arms?
We were forced to look at the question of how much do we really need the people in our lives and what are we willing to do to feel their presence?
Perhaps this year we were really faced with what it means to be alive – beyond work meetings and happy hours, beyond daily schedules and date nights, beyond shopping trips and soccer games. We were able to experience the daily existence of breathing and being without the shackles of modern hectic life. If we wanted to survive this year, we had to find some gratitude in the mundane and tedious. We had to find love across distances.
We were pushed to feel the boundaries of the human experience: terror, grief, solitude, powerlessness. We have realized that we can no longer take our lives for granted. Perhaps the wisest among us will see the world’s soap boxes and scare tactics for the folly they are and begin to tune into our higher selves.
New Year’s Eve 2020 is not a magic portal into a new era in which we leave the struggles of the past year behind. I hate to say it, but it’s just another day. All that we carry today will still be on our backs tomorrow. We must build our spiritual muscle because this, my fellow humans, is a long-haul.
Together we must find better ways to adjust to this heavy load we bear. We must learn to reach out across the divides we have created and work collectively as a species to heal each other and our planet.
We need each other. We need a healthy earth. We need to find love, gratitude and forgiveness. We need spacious hearts and open minds if we are going to make things better.
2021 promises to be challenging, but we can face it with more confidence and fortitude because we know ourselves now. We have seen the darkness and kept moving forward.
We know we are capable, and we know what life is worth.
(Ok, I lied… this post is kind of about finding the lessons in 2020. But, hey, what did you expect – I woke up feeling Razzle-Dazzle today!)
©Skye Nicholson 2020