On New Year’s Eve 2019, people gathered all over to celebrate the closing of one year and the beginning of the next. No on could have imagined what the coming year would bring: a global disease pandemic, social unrest, a tense relationship between law enforcement and African Americans, an unprecedented Presidential election and much more.
By now, all of these seems like old news. Indeed, although we are still trying to navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, in some ways the early weeks and months of the pandemic seem long ago, and yet . . . it isn’t over just yet.
2020 was difficult for a myriad of reasons.
In March and April in the United States, the country faced lockdowns and self-quarantines. Not only did people’s physical health suffer, but so too did their mental health. Relapses increased as well as substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. Although social distancing remains the recommended way to avoid infectious diseases, the practice has taught us how hardwired social gatherings and social interaction are within us. Some protested. Others accepted the inevitable. Asking people to stay away from each other was asking too much, it seemed.
Families, communities, friendships, and individuals have all been put to the test in 2020.
The pandemic also has, since the spring, pushed the economy into recession. Millions have people have lost their jobs, their businesses, and their livelihoods.
But a new chapter is about to start.
Although no one expects the world to suddenly change just because there is a new number on the calendar, hope lies ahead. As of December 2020, vaccines are beginning to get distributed. Also, change is about to occur in Washington – perhaps more focus will be placed on taking the pandemic seriously, which – one can hope – will help usher in its end.
But until then, we can only focus on what we have control over – which usually means our personal choices and other things directly within our spear of influence. It’s tough to accept. But it’s an idea that’s been around since the time of the Stoic philosophers in ancient Greece . . .
Collectively, perhaps we need to take a breath. 2021 is certainly offering us all some hope. But things will not suddenly change overnight. Change is likely to come gradually, incrementally. Finally, it’s a time for patience, a time for understanding. We will overcome this . . . together.