A Summary of a Hell of a Year (literally)
2020 has proven to be the worst year for literally everyone on the planet. It became the epitome of self-deprecating memes, and everything generally seems like a half-empty glass moment—a nightmare where all cards in UNO are draw-4 wildcards. But as we near the corniest month of the year and the end of 2020, it is time to pour the old water out of the glass and fill it with some memories and lessons.
So what have we learned from this rollercoaster of a year?
1.How to survive in a global public health crisis
It goes without saying that no country aced lockdown, quarantines and second waves of COVID-19. Early March was when all hell broke loose – a time of great uncertainty and widespread global alarm. May and June were pretty much the same, with eviscerated pharmacies and eerie, empty streets. July and August were more on the low side, with more used masks lying around on the streets and a wave of protests across the world.
The world surpassed a grim coronavirus milestone on September 29 – 1 million confirmed deaths globally. A reminder that even though March seemed to last forever and was not that long ago, people over the world were making peace with the deaths of their loved ones. In the midst of precariously booking last tickets to travel back home, studying for exams and standing in never-ending lines to pharmacies, the world was descending into madness.
It may seem that days of universal nightmare are over. But for some, they begin will again.
What we ought to take away if next time this happens again is how to plan. It is impossible to plan everything in life, but at least a global pandemic can now be a viable point on our to-do lists. Plan your time and money to make sure you always have just enough saved in case of a lay-off or an urgent need to travel. Always have your documents by your side and things ready to pack but most importantly, stay calm in the face of adversity. Things happen swiftly, and no matter how hard you try to plan and keep them under control, there will always be that one detail that escapes you. What is important to remember is not to blame yourself and to feel embarrassed for not thinking ahead. In a swarm of panic and despair, everything is blurry, and it is easy to feel inadequate when looking back. One thing is clear – we look back at that time as new people, and it is better to smile at that person in the past and let go.
2. Staying sane while at home with family
Staying alive in a pandemic seemed like the only goal for the whole of humanity. What proved to be much harder, however, is trying not to go berserk when stuck at home with family. One word that can summarise going back home in a pandemic if you lived alone before the quarantine is ‘fear’, immediately followed by ‘dread’. Being scared to travel is one quick-passing thing compared to having to spend the rest of the year (maybe longer) with parents, children, brothers, sisters, cats, dogs and whatnot.
Anyone who had to travel back from college to their family home (my condolences to those with bigger families) knows how suffocating it feels to going from living alone to sharing everything with everyone at home. It is way different from living with roommates – there is an unspoken code of solidarity and politeness that exists between friends/strangers living together. Moving back in with family feels more like living with a multi-personality disorder and all your personalities became their own persons in the forms of mum, dad, older brother and younger sister; you can fight without apologising, mutually draining each other’s energy and asking stupid questions without feeling ashamed.
Indeed, one can go insane (God knows I did). But I’d like to believe there is a lesson that comes with it. As ironic as it is, one meta paradoxical thing about being stuck with your family is that you see their value through the mutual toxicity you experience together. While it is unequivocally true that certain borderline murderous thoughts run through your mind after another tirade with parents or siblings, you can still find peace and gratitude knowing you are all alive together in a home that is warm but always at the edge of shattering to pieces.
3. Staying aware and being up to date
If asked about the most memorable ‘event’ of 2020, anyone will answer COVID-19 without a second thought. That is true. Still, we shouldn’t treat 2020 as a year that began when the news all over the world announced a swift descent into a lockdown.
Here’s a list of highly messed up things that happened before and after COVID-10:
· Australian wildfires
· US on the brink of war with Iran – followed by a Ukrainian jetliner crash
· Floods in Indonesia
· Flight PK8303
· Trump’s impeachment proceedings
· Black Lives Matter protests
· Beirut Explosion
· Armenian-Azerbaijan War
COVID-19 did not make these issues disappear. Many of them are still here, and their effects are felt regionally if not globally. The environment is still a default issue that we keenly ignore. The news is as non-stop as ever and a swarm of fresh protests and public dissonance constantly ebb and flow. To stay up to date and have a global view should be a matter of fact for everyone in 2021 as we are yet to see what comes our way.
What does the future hold?
Hard to tell. No one can say whether 2021 is going to be better or worse. What is true and has always been the truth is that every year is the worst year for someone. It just so happens that our interest in survival collided in 2020 and for once, and not for the last time, people over the world found one thing in common. And what could be better than a grand celebration, which there definitely will be, to say goodbye to a hell of a year.
We shouldn’t stop writing resolutions. We shouldn’t stop wishing for the best. We shouldn’t stop celebrating when it is time for celebrating.
At least someone won at life this year: