Just last week, I decided to go on a walk around the park with a friend. As we strolled around the park, my face half-covered with a polka dot face mask, sweat slowly dripping down my forehead, he looked over at me, and exclaimed: “God, I can’t wait for this shitshow of a year to be over!” I looked at him, not fully comprehending his statement in the moment, and simply nodded back. Later that week, wrapped up in a never-ending group chat, I happened to read a similar statement from another friend of mine: “2021 please hurry!” This time, I felt my interest spark: are there people out there simply waiting for 2021 to come along to make things better? If so, why?
I will be the first to admit, 2020 has definitely not been the best year of my life. As a first-year teacher, I certainly did not imagine ending my very first school year on Zoom. I didn’t envision my grandmother’s illness of Parkinson’s disease to severely worsen, causing her mind to develop severe and crippling hallucinations. And of course, I could have never imagined the advance of a full-blown pandemic that would completely alter the course of our lives forever, causing all my concert events, family events, travel plans, etc. to immediately vanish.
However, there were also moments of beauty and peace that I have experienced throughout this tumultuous year. For one, I fell in love. We had met nearly two years ago and had been through our ups and downs. I believe love ultimately boils down to timing; so, whether it was the stress of the outside world or the fact that we both had a love for music-we bonded in the most indescribable, and intimate way two lovers can during a pandemic. I also made time for family-something I had been neglecting for far too long. I spent time learning how to bake, which had probably been on my bucket list for the past decade. I found peace when walking outside through nature, and I felt like for once, I could breathe.
If you are reading this article, I urge you to stop waiting for 2021. 2021 will come, COVID-19 will still exist, and you will most likely not magically transform into a whole new individual (sorry to burst your bubble). Instead, I encourage you to take a moment to breathe. Reflect on all that has gone well. Acknowledge the moments of peace and solace you experienced this year, even if it was those 5 minutes spent in the bathroom, reading a magazine. Live, and be grateful for this moment.
For in the end, that is all we truly have.