I’m not usually one for New Year year-in-review posts, but 2020 has seen so much turmoil that I have to say “good riddance”.
In many ways, as a family we’ve been lucky. Home life has been relatively unchanged, other than not having friends around for meals. Everyone we know has escaped so far, though it’s been harder on some than on others. The biggest loss for us was having to abandon a trip to visit family in the UK this summer.
We are all still earning, with all of us in essential services of some sort (groceries, education, provincial government). Again, we’ve been lucky. Many businesses are struggling, although many have also adapted in various ways as our knowledge of the spread evolved: closing doors, partial reopening, new safety procedures, new ways of operating ...
The biggest stresses that I can see emerging are connected: weariness at the constant vigilance and observing of distancing rules, and the lack of social contact.
People tout social media and online meetings. Zoom and Teams work fine for business meetings, but they are no substitute for gathering around a table for a meal or a drink. People keep promoting virtual coffees, virtual dinner parties, virtual water cooler chats, and I’m getting weary of that too because for me they just don’t cut it. Worse, to me they actively emphasize what we can’t do.
Sometimes you just need human closeness. Sometimes you just need a hug. That is the ultimate cruelty of this pandemic – that it’s robbed us of the most fundamental support mechanisms we know.
But my hope for 2021 is that we can learn and adapt in more long-lasting ways. We’ve learned that we don’t need to all gather together in an office in order to work and collaborate. The environment (and our wallets) has benefited from less travel. We could be and should be living and working smarter in future, making use of what we’ve learned this year. We should be looking forward to a kinder and more sustainable world, and treasuring togetherness when we’re finally able to again.