For many, if not most, 2020 was a doozy. There a very strange (for want of a better word) US presidential election and there was Brexit. And then there was SARS-CoV-2. I imagine there are few – if any – of my readers unaffected by COVID-19. Life as we know it was turned upside down by the virus. I don’t need to list it all, but rising unemployment, jobs being at risk, recession, the loneliness of quarantine and self-isolation, not being able to see friends and family, lack of physical contact, death of loved ones, and continually changing guidelines have all meant that what we know is all changed and changing. The foundation upon which we base our lives is now like quicksand.
We look at 2021 with uncertainty, not knowing what it brings. A third wave? A return to normal? This time last year we may have had resolutions, plans. Maybe a wedding or a trip? Perhaps a school graduation or conferences? This year none of that is certain.
Looking back at 2020, we moved into our dream apartment and we had the joy of being able to give an abandoned cat a home. But several trips to see my family in South Africa had to be cancelled. I have not seen my family in almost 3 years. My daughter and her fiancé both had COVID. I lost two friends to the virus.
Trying to find good things about the year upon which to reflect, I did find quite a few. Changes in working habits, impacts on carbon emissions, appreciation of essential workers
- we appreciate family and friends more than ever. Even if we cannot see them in person, many people have forged closer relationships with their loved ones.
- community spirit has blossomed, with people helping each other more than before. Perhaps shopping, or just checking in via text to see if neighbours are okay.
- the environment has recovered a little due to less travel and a drop in manufacturing
- we appreciate all the lower status but incredibly important jobs that kept our societies going during these times – nurses, ward assistants, home care services, bus and train drivers, emergency personnel, shop assistants, teachers. I hope this has long-term effects in terms of increased recognition and remuneration.
- our consumption habits have changed. Less conspicuous consumption (high fashion, trips, eating out) and more eating at home and fixing things up around the house. I read that makeup, bra, and shoe sales have dropped dramatically
- several countries have started reshoring certain production. Bringing production of PPE, and certain components back to local shores to prevent shortages and disruptions in supply.
- more people are being allowed to work from home in companies or professions where telecommuting was regarded with suspicion
- larger audiences can now attend and participate in online conferences. This is particularly important for disabled persons who were previously less able to participate fully.
- many commercial enterprises have developed their e-commerce platforms, allowing people to buy more things online.
- more medical services are now available online or as drive-thru options
- museums, galleries, movies are more accessible online than they were before
- online teaching has developed and hopefully will remain as part of the tools available to teachers.
From me to you, dear readers, I wish you the best year ever. And whatever happens, we can get through this coming year together. I love all your comments and all blog engagement that shows we are all still here and fighting our way through this.