Too much has been and will be written about 2020, insuring that we’ll never stop hearing about it. It’s easy to focus on the many failures this year, the callous disregard those in power have shown toward the rest of us, the many lives needlessly disrupted, and the anger and frustration it has all caused. We may never know the full extent of the damage done to our way of life and most likely will never fully recover.
Still, we must go on. I don’t like to say, “Things can’t get worse” because I know all too well that they can. Perhaps, though, we learned enough this year to remind us that we should never take anything for granted. Simply saying, “That’s not who we are” or “It can’t happen here” is not enough to guard against it happening here, or realizing that maybe it is who we are. Realization is the first, necessary step in making a much needed change, though, and we can hope that it’s enough to spur us on to making those changes.
So, now, as we find ourselves at the end, not just of another year but of another decade, it’s time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. We will, most certainly, remember the bad times, and we should. We should never give up on insisting that those who’ve harmed us for their own personal gain be held accountable for their actions, but, at the same time, we should be willing to ask ourselves, “What can we do about it?” We are still responsible for our own actions and how we respond to the challenges posed by this year and the decade it concludes.
In every ending is a new beginning, a new chance to reset the clock and try again. We should do so with a better understanding of who we are and what we need to do to be our best selves. If this year has done nothing else, it’s forced us to take a hard look at what we’ve become and why. It’s held a mirror in front of us to let us see the ugly reflection staring back. We’ve been shown the consequences of ignorance and complacency and those who are willing to accept and acknowledge the challenges facing us are better equipped to start working on making things better. The path forward won’t be easy, and there will undoubtedly be many more catastrophes awaiting us, but there are still those among us who aren’t willing to settle for the status quo, and who have the courage to face what must be done to insure we can build a better future.
So, on this, the final day of the second decade of the twenty-first century, I wish everyone a better tomorrow. We may not know what the next day will bring, but if we focus on the here and now and continually ask ourselves what we must do to move forward, then maybe we can turn that corner and start to live up to not just who we wish we were, but who we can be.
Happy New Year.