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Reflections and Observations on 2020

I can confidently say that 2020 has left an indelible impression upon most, if not all of us. Whether directly impacted by the pandemic in the worst possible way, by losing a loved one, as I sadly have, or merely combating the unprecedented concoction of anxiety, depression, and social isolation—what we have now coined “Covid Fatigue,” has pushed us to our respective limits.

And, although we all know the proverb, “The only constant is change,” the collection of profound and palpable changes, spurred upon us by Covid-19 have proved too hard to swallow. Even when waxing poetic and philosophical about the state of affairs, drawing upon David Bowie’s impactful lyrics, “Turn and face the strange…Ch-ch-changes…There’s gonna have to be a different man…” (let’s ignore the lack of gender and non-binary inclusiveness here) we find ourselves bewildered, perplexed, and at times, indulging in cognitive dissonance. We rationalize, we bargain, and often convince ourselves that our selected activities, such as fill in the blank (e.g., going to the hairdresser, nail salon, the gym, our favorite boutique, indoor restaurant, small gathering with close friends and family) doesn’t carry a high risk of exposure to a lethal disease. Further fueled by our perceptions of our relative healthfulness, immune system robustness, and subjective beliefs about our vulnerability, we make arguably questionable choices by engaging in certain activities and participating in gatherings. No doubt, we dream about a time when we could go about our lives, oblivious to the concept of a deadly pandemic, and complain about the mundane— the endless to-do list, errands, laundry and all we associate with the daily grind.

With 2021 merely hours away, many hold out a wide array of hope that, much like a light switch, we will turn off the devastating negativity associated with 2020 and welcome a bright and idealistic new year. On a rational level, we recognize this oversimplification and know that at midnight our lives will not miraculously emerge from the Covid nightmare. At the same time, we all need something hopeful and positive and rewarding to hang on to, as we continue to face this proverbial rollercoaster with blindfolds on, awaiting to experience a beacon of warmth, safety, health and happiness. Much like our first experience on an intimidating roller coaster, we can only hope to come out on the other side of the adventure with more insight, understanding and appreciation for what we once took for granted. Perhaps we can even realize that despite experiencing this frightening prolonged encounter, not by choice but by necessity, we have expanded our repertoire to include an unforeseeable level of resilience.

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