The Rear View

“We’re trying to think of something nice to say about 2020. Okay, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know. That’s pretty much it.”      Dave Barry, The Washington Post

Someone (Filmmaker Billy Wilder? Humorist Richard Armour? Someone else?) once observed that hindsight is always twenty-twenty, which we all know means that, after the fact, we see things more clearly. There’s something surreal about that phrase right now as we look into the rearview mirror at the year 2020. And while Dave Barry’s tongue in cheek jab at this past year may feel all too true, I believe there’s always something to be gained by looking back, by seizing the perspective that comes with time, and using that perspective to better understand our world and ourselves. Here goes for me:

Toilet paper is something we can live without, so there’s no need to hoard it.

Good can triumph over evil, but we must stand up to the evil to allow the good to prevail.

Baking bread, pounding the dough as you knead it, is cathartic.

Humans need contact with each other – to look into each other’s eyes, to see each other’s smiles, to feel each other’s touch. Of course we are feeling sad since so much of this has been impossible this past year.

Travel is a luxury too often taken for granted until you no longer can do it. I’d gladly get on a plane to just about anywhere right now.

 Family and friends are so much more important than we think about on a daily basis. I’m lucky mine are all okay.

 Life it too short to get hung up on trivial conflicts. I’m learning to let go of things and to say I’m sorry more readily.

It’s really good to know how to cook if you are going to be stuck at home for a long time – but the dishes that piled up this year were something I was in no way prepared for.

 Some of the most important people in our society are grossly underpaid – nurses, grocery store clerks, teachers, truck drivers, and so many more people on whom we depend. I’m trying to say thank you more to these people.

 Seeing yourself on camera too much can make you very critical about your appearance – maybe that’s why Hollywood stars have so much “work” done. If I weren’t so opposed to it, I’d be scheduling a face lift after the 2020 Zoom and Facetime calls I endured.

 Humans need to plan and to look forward to events – and not being able to for so long can be very hard on the spirit. So, I’m planning, even though those plans might not materialize for a while and even though my plans might be cancelled.

 Quarantining with someone can make a relationship stronger – or can shatter it. I’m so grateful that I had a wonderful partner to share my time with this year.

 Loss is a broad category – losing a loved one to COVID (or anything else) is tragically painful, but so are other losses – having to cancel a wedding, not having friends or family with you to celebrate a birthday, losing a job or your home, or missing a special trip are just other forms of loss. I’ve let myself grieve when I needed to this year.

 Schools provide so much more than education – they feed children who don’t get enough at home, provide socialization skills, and are a safety net for our kids. I so admire the moms and dads who are struggling to keep their kids on track.

 The arts help during difficult times – music, movies, TV shows, painting, playing an instrument, or dancing all provide a diversion and lift our spirits. One of the best things I did in 2020 was to relearn the piano.

Babysitting for a grandchild on a regular basis can be exhausting but will create a special bond that can never be broken. My little man just lights up my life!

 It’s possible for every single day to drag on interminably slowly while an entire year passes in a flash. It feels like just yesterday I was meeting Number Four’s family in Puerto Rico and gorging myself on pork and rum, yet that was a full year ago.

 And so, I say farewell to this surreal, difficult, lonely, frustrating, sad year, grateful for my health, my family, my friends, and my partner, and hopeful for our future.


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