2021 is Here, Now What?

It’s safe to say now that winter break is over that the holidays did not go out with a bang like they may have in years past. But they went out in a quiet murmur, as we all collectively tried to hang on to a shred of normalcy during these, yes, unprecedented times.

We didn’t get the big, fun parties, or dinners, or light displays that draw in crowds of thousands. Instead, we got more home time, more quietness and more of what we are all sick of hearing at this point, more “Stay at Home” orders from provincial and federal governments. 

Yes, it was that holiday season we all craved at one point or another, tranquil evenings, with no midday huff because you have to start getting ready for a Christmas party you have no interest in going to where friends and family inundate you with questions about your personal life. But now that the pandemic brought this quiet holiday season, it feels mundane. For myself personally, I can not wait for the next holiday season, where get-togethers are once again encouraged and I can see all my friends and family again and answer their nosy questions. 

Whether you were like my family, and really got into Christmas (i.g, constantly watching Christmas/ Hallmark movies, decorating every room in the house and listening to Christmas music non stop). Or you did not want to celebrate and just hoped the final weeks of 2020 would pass quietly, it all seemed like we were so eager to ring in the New Year. Everyone pining for a fresh start, get some good news flowing from the media and for things to go back to normal. 

But what if things take a really long time to get back to normal? Instead of what we were all hoping for, which was for things to go back to normal right now. 

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I think that I, along with many others may have naively thought that once the clock hit midnight on December 31st our world would go back to the way it was. The internet seemed to attach us to this notion that it was the year 2020’s fault for making life so horrible. That 2020 caused the pandemic, racial injustice and challenged democracy to a new level, and when 2020 passed so will this horrible curse on the world. But we were all too eager for normalcy and with 2021 here and nothing changing the world seems frustrated. We are still dealing with the same issues that plagued the year. Vaccines are rolling out at an impressively slow rate for how desperate our country wants to get back to normal, and racial injustice issues seem to continue to cripple the United States, with Pro-Trump protestors scaling the walls of the Capitol. It seems like the veil is lifting and idle citizens, like myself, are realizing that all the terrible things that happened in 2020 are not just a time capsule of that year, but are spilling out into this year and will have repercussions on the foreseeable future. If I’m being honest, it sucks, like, really sucks.

So with this dull holiday season over and with the January “winter blues” here to stay and worsened this year due to the pandemic, it’s time to ask that nagging question, now what?

Do we continue down this path of simply blaming the year 2020 for all our problems and potentially do the same thing to 2021? Or do we just embrace this terrible time and remember that it is going to get better? Well to that I say, let’s embrace the suck!

I think that we have to understand that it was not 2020’s fault for the way this year happened, that we as humans need to take responsibility for it and that whatever happens in 2021, we have the power to be better, and things are already changing. There is hope on the horizon, vaccines are here to stay and as Canadians we will be well ahead of a lot of other countries in the indoctrination process. Protests for Black Lives Matter and just a better understanding of privilege versus injustice have made the forefront of conversations. Finally, it has already made us better, we are starting to become more reflective, compassionate human beings.

 It is still going to be a terrible few months, I’m not going to lie. We are going to have to deal with the cold, dreary winter with less human contact than ever, with nothing in our personal lives to look forward to except maybe a Zoom call with friends or a dinner out with your partner. I don’t think we have to sugar coat it for ourselves or pretend that we are ok or that this year is better, when it’s obviously not off to a good start. We just have to embrace the suckiness of the season and remind ourselves that it is not forever

So, let yourself break down, take necessary breaks from work, social media and the news, and when you feel like you need help call friends and family. I may sound like a broken record to all the other annoyingly optimistic people in the media when I say that this is not forever, this is just for now. But it is true, so let’s not blame 2020 let’s embrace it. 

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With real, lasting change comes some pain and discomfort and while we have a long way to go for being a better society, we all did all get a good kick in the right direction from 2020. It made us stop and focus on real matters and for that I think we should be thanking 2020. So thank you 2020, you may have sucked but you made us grow. You made us appreciate the small joys, you made us reflect and change our actions and you made us more compassionate. So let’s continue 2021 with our cautious optimism, our quarantine hobbies  and our new sense of kindness and humanity. 


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