2020 will go down in history as one that changed modern society and the future of mankind. I must admit, when challenged to write about the positives arising from 2020, I had to scratch my head for more than a few minutes. But yes, there were many good and positive things to emerge from 2020. Let’s consider a few.
Naturally at the top of the list is the discovery of a Coronavirus vaccine. Just 6 months ago we were told it might take 2 or 3 years to find a vaccine cure for COVID-19. Waiting that long for a cure may have been devastating to the world. Amazingly, medical science was able to unify and crack the virus’s code and begin manufacturing vaccines in less than one year, a godsend for our planet.
2020 tested racial divides around the globe. The US was torn by violence and racial strife. Canada too was not immune to forms of hatred, racism, and sexism. Covid-19 only seemed to heighten and become part of these issues. Thankfully media did not shy away from covering the huge outpouring of emotion against these hatreds. True, racism will not end in a year, but this year we took great strides in addressing its’ existence and causes. We saw the opening of dialogues and honesties that will help bring an end to social injustices of all forms. Yes, 2020 was a good year for social activism, it had a voice, and it found our ears.
2020 gave our fragile and endangered planet a much-needed reprieve. Fewer airplanes were poking holes in the ozone layer and reductions in car bus, and trains travel meant our air got cleaner too. Our great air purifier and oxygen plant, the planet’s oceans became healthier and less polluted, with cruise ships moored at the dock. Whales and their calves were safer and happier, and they started singing more. Our urban soundscape became quieter and apparently, this made birds happier too, and, for whatever reason, they sang songs of joy more often for us. All in all our delicate blue-green ball breathed in new life.
We learned to appreciate the selfless dedication of nurses, orderlies, doctors, and other health workers who risked their lives to save ours. We discovered and gave thanks to the dedication of truck drivers, grocery stockers, farmworkers and so many more who risked their lives to keep our economy from collapsing.
Technology became our saviour. Computers, smart pads, and smartphones tied us together as we zoom chatted and face-timed our way through our forced social isolation, keeping us connected to friends and loved ones. We wrote more and listened more, and yes, we probably learned more too. The arts found new pathways to entertain us at home as concerts and art exhibitions took place virtually. Almost everything became virtual. Sales of smart TVs and smart devices took off, as they helped us interact around the planet. Thanks to technology isolation became doable, sort of.
Working from home became a necessity for many. Suddenly our downtown office lives became our at-home office lives. No need to dress for work or take the bus on a commute. Many liked this new work concept, to the point that potentially it may become the way of the future, as we work virtually from anywhere, with the world becoming our office. This could become a quantum leap for the urban lifestyle in the foreseeable future as we move to the country and the wide-open spaces. More time for family and less stress in our lives and a return to older values.
2020 helped us rediscover nature and how to play and have fun in the great outdoors, it became our safe haven during COVID-19. We exercised because we needed to and the endorphins produced improved our mental and physical health. A myriad of outdoor adventures included climbing onto our bikes, strapping on skis or hiking boots. We overflowed golf courses and tennis courts, walking, picnicking, canoeing, you name it, almost anything that brought us outside helped provide us with needed physicality and a return to just having some plain old fashioned fun.
This became a great year for home projects. Renovating, cooking, baking, gardening, reading, writing, painting, learning to play a musical instrument, listening to music, or just feeling good to be around home, and doing positive things with our time. Personally, my culinary skills leaped to new grounds, so too were the messes I created in the kitchen and the dishes that needed to be washed.
Those were not the only at-home activities. Gyms closed and opened and closed again, so to keep fit, folks started running, or power walking, couples walked hand in hand again. Indoor fitness equipment sales took off, at-home bikes like peloton, rowing machines, elliptical machines, treadmills, and complete home gyms all became the rage. Many took up yoga and meditation. Keep the body healthy and the mind will follow.
But I offer you perhaps the most important of all positives to come from 2020. A return to humanity. By definition, “understanding and kindness toward other people”. The pandemic has taught us to truly value life and those that have meaning in our life. Those tender moments, and simple times with friends, and family are more essential and treasured, as are those individuals. We have learned to embrace not only life but our good fortune of living in Canada. While respecting and appreciating others in our society, no matter their place, race, or persuasion. Effectively a return to simpler human values that we most definitely needed to rediscover. These to me are the key positives emerging from 2020.