“That’s so 2020!” will forever be etched in time as a phrase that describes anything terrible.
Package arrives with your valuables crushed?
Car gets scratched?
Favorite show canceled mid-season?
You get the idea.
We joke to cope with COVID-19 and all the other horrible stuff we experienced this year, all while counting down the days until January 1, and the start of, what we hope will be a better year.
We slog through the torture of virtual learning and never-ending Zoom meetings, hanging on to the glimmer of light at the seemingly endless abyss that is 2020.
We just need to get through this, suffer just a little bit, sacrifice some personal enjoyments and we can all go back to our normal lives next year.
And, yes, if we all wore masks in public, limited our social gatherings, and generally followed what science and health experts tell us, we would be on the right track toward resuming some semblance of pre-COVID life.
But, if you think things are going back to “normal,” you better take a deep breath and get ready for some hard truths.
Nothing is going back to the way it was before COVID-19 entered our lives. Not any time soon, and certainly not once 2020 is over.
Sure, we may have a vaccine and better treatments and schools may be able to open full time.
Yeah we are beyond the new “normal” we are just in normal mode now.
Remember 9/11, how that awful day forced so much to change about our lives?
I am sure people thought that after a few years we wouldn’t be spending hours going through security at the airport, yet here we are, nearly 20 years later, still spending more time with TSA than on our actual flights.
But, we put up with it because doing so enables us to see the world, to see family and friends and experience life outside of our own communities.
We need to face the truth, that, much like after 9/11, our lives are going to be different for the foreseeable future.
Despite what some politicians say, a miracle vaccine isn’t going to be available to everyone by the end of the year.
Most likely, it won’t even be available until sometime next year, if we are lucky. And even if it were available tomorrow, achieving herd immunity is a slow process.
There’s no “quick fix,” no magic pill that’s going to make everything fine.
We are in this for the long haul.
The sooner we accept this pandemic is going to be here for a while, the sooner we can move forward with our lives.
This pandemic is not a temporary blip, a minor inconvenience to deal with that we can all laugh about in six months and say, “remember how crazy life was back then?” It is a global-shifting historic event that will shape the way we live our lives forever.
But, it doesn’t have to be depressing.
We can stop thinking about “getting over” this pandemic, and start thinking about how we can live our lives in a post COVID world.
For some that may mean accepting that masks are likely here to stay and will be required in most public settings from theme parks to schools.
For others, it may mean addressing personal health risks and discerning when and how they plan to re-enter society after avoiding human contact for so long.
As a whole, we, especially those of us in America, must realize this impacts all of us.
We need to put the “united” back in the United States, and come together in a collective effort to slow the spread, and accept that some sacrifices, including intermittent shut downs, are needed in order to make us able to enjoy the things we love.
I have high hopes for 2021. I welcome the promise of a new year and a brighter future, but I am also realistic, and know many of the challenges of 2020 are here to stay.
So let’s take them on and try and make next year one we don’t need to turn into a noun.