Listen, we need to talk. I don’t know why you’ve been such a difficult year. Are you in some sort of competition with previous and future years, vying for the most headlines? I can’t say much about the years to come, but I can say that your younger brother 2019 seems sluggish in comparison.
Or maybe you just need to eat a Snickers. You turn into an Armageddon when you’re hungry.
Whatever the reason, you have clearly decided that you want to be remembered. But can I ask you — why don’t you want to be remembered for something positive? You could be like 1969, celebrated for the moon landing and remembered for discovery. Or what about 1896, when the first modern Olympics were held in Athens? You could have been remembered for daring dreams.
But no. You’ve decided to give us wildfires, plague, murder hornets, carnivorous rats, riots, and, I’m sure there’s more that I just can’t recall. Instead of discovery, or dreams, or daring, you’ve opted to be remembered for disaster. Discord. Dysfunction.
Do you need to talk? Do you need a vacation? (I feel like I need a vacation).
I’m not sure how a “year” takes a vacation, but I imagine it would mean some good news for us. Some headlines that make us smile rather than widen our eyes, before shaking our heads in a strangely desensitized way. “Another crazy thing for the year…”
I’ve wondered, sometimes, if you’re a mind-reader. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought, on Dec. 31, 2019 as the ball came down in New York, “Wow, 2020. What a nice even number. The same number twice, too! That must mean it’s going to be a great year.”
Did you hear me and decide, “I’ll show Sarah Davidson.” (Though, please tell me I’m not the only one who jinxed us. Surely I wasn’t alone in appreciating the mathematical precision of 2020.)
To be fair, I did also use to always say, “I wish they’d stop making movies and publishing books for just one year so that we could all catch up on our read/watch-lists.”
Cue quarantine/economic shutdown.
Though, in my defense, I didn’t know anyone was listening.
I don’t know whether it was you, 2020, or some other force – karma, fate? – that just wanted to mess with me and with all of the others out there who always wished for just a little more time. I guess the old adage is true: Careful what you wish for.
You’ve certainly taught me that, 2020. You’ve also taught me to value the smaller moments, to relish the simple joy of going outside and being around other people. You’ve reminded this introvert about the value of community.
You’ve also reminded me of the importance of open-mindedness and acceptance. Of remembering, first and foremost, that people are just that — people. With hopes and dreams, faults and fears.
You’ve taught me how to be vigilant and how to be cautious. You’ve taught me how to be prepared and how to live in the moment.
And maybe that’s been your goal all along. Maybe you aren’t throwing a tantrum. Maybe you’re just trying to teach all of us something. Maybe a lot of somethings. And maybe the lessons you’re teaching are different for each person living through the challenges you’ve given us.
And maybe, if every single person lets themselves learn just one thing – about themselves or about the world – then maybe 2021 will be at least a little bit smoother.
Not that I’m trying to jinx us again, of course. (Pretty please???)
Sarah Davidson is a contributor with Salt magazine and blogger at sarah-davidson.com.