I don’t know how many people had on their 2021 bingo card “Survive a coup attempt,” but apparently that was something we should’ve expected. The new year, 2021, was supposed to be a better year, a hopeful year, after the horrors that were experienced by Americans and globally. Although this year has gotten to a rocky start with covid numbers still rising and domestic terrorists embolden, it can still be the year many of us want to experience.
Since 2020 was being constantly indoors and away from other people. It has allowed millions of people the time needed to be introspective and think about their life and what they want from it. It has allowed millions to reconnect with themselves and reconnect with others despite the distance. Yet, we are still not done with the pandemic.
So allow me to make the case on why 2021 should be a year of hope instead of another year of boredom and despair.
For starters, we can take what has happened in 2020 as an excellent learning experience. For months on end people were indoors away from friends and family with nothing but themselves for comfort. For a lot of people, myself included, this year was terrible, but it has also given us a chance to think about our lives. To think about the things we value and what we can learn about ourselves.
Tiffany Berry, mother of three and a returning student at the College of DuPage said 2020 tested her on every level
“It was awful,” she said. “It was telling. It was taxing. It was illuminating. It was growing, and it was as healing as it was breaking.
“2020 tested my economics,” Berry continued. “ It tested my marriage. It tested me as a mother. It tested me as a person and, most of all, it tested my relationship with myself. It tested who I am under unexpected pressure and who I could be.”
The trials people have experienced in 2020 were massive, and everyone dealt with them differently.
Kevin Krush, a student at the University of Maryland studying for a degree in political science, said 2020 was revealing.
“I think 2020, in a strange way, was horrible yet clarifying,” Krush said. “In a lot of ways it had people think about what is important in life that we don’t really think about a whole lot. For me, the insanity of 2020 has made me more conscientious about focusing on the good things that have happened to me.”
For Thomas Janoski, a student at the University of Washington studying programming, the time of COVID-19 was surprisingly productive.
“If I had to sum it up I would say that 2020 was a work year,” he said. “Since we weren’t allowed to socialize in typical circles, I ended up committing to work, and I spent 2020 grinding. 2020 was necessary for me in a way. It let me do things like graduate this semester, which is a year earlier than I was planning. I got a lot of great work experience because of it as well.”
For Berry, Krush and Janoski 2021 gives them hope for what is to come, particularly with the COVID-19 vaccines rolling out.
Janoski is hoping that 6 months into the distribution of vaccines we can start going back to normal.
The idea that life can return to some semblance of normal is an idea shared by many and is a hope that is entirely possible if the vaccine distribution is handled well by the incoming administration. However, even with life going back to normal the lessons learned about ourselves in 2020 are something that can make 2021 all the better.
“Everything can change very quickly and you should be ready for things to change in a short period of time and having a plan for the future,” Krush said. Lastly, if we are to enjoy 2021 we need to use this year as a year to reconnect with people after experiencing months of disconnect.
“My message to everyone for 2021 is to open, honest and valuable with people and to find others who are willing to do the same.” said Berry
The year 2020 was a year of trouble, a year of hardship and a year of disconnection. If we are to make the best of 2021, then last year’s lack of connection needs to make this a year of connection, and I am hopeful that we all can do that this year.