Nella Coiro

Goodbye 2020

Now that we’re approaching the end of 2020, saying that it’s been an overwhelming year would definitely be an understatement. When we wished one another a happy new year on January 1st of 2020, no one could have a fathomed the horror that this year would bring upon us. So, I guess the term happy new year is simply a wish that we’re hoping for the best, and we certainly don’t want to think about the worst.

We all celebrate the end of the year and the coming of the new year, with a sense of anticipated hope for better things to come, and this will be especially true of this year. Yet, millions have lost a loved one, and were not allowed to hold their hand during their final moments. These heartbreaking memories and this level of grief doesn’t fade with the passing of time. Instead, this changes us, and remains with us.

Anger, anxiety and fear don’t easily fade into the sunset either. Even the good news concerning vaccines isn’t a soothing balm and a solution for the intense suffering and the new normals. Now, we have a new mindset, because we’ve become acutely aware that there are deadly threats that are invisible, and we can’t see them coming. Even enlightenment can have components that are distressing and painful.

There’s so much happening in our world simultaneously – and much of it is about facing the reality that we have absolutely no control over the external circumstances that can greatly impact upon our lives. This enhanced reality will follow us beyond 2020, and into the years to come. 

There are also social ramifications. The pandemic has drastically changed how we will interact with one another in the future. No one will feel comfortable with handshaking ever again. Hugs will be accompanied by anxiety for a long time. Since I’m immune compromised, I cannot imagine ever feeling comfortable when standing close to a stranger, or without the protection of a mask.

We’ve become so aware of the fact that even those we love can unknowingly transmit invisible and deadly germs. How will this translate at family gatherings when we might be expected to hug or kiss friends or relatives? 

How will we greet one another in social situations now? Elbow bumps? Personally, I’ve always preferred the Indian namaste greeting, but social greeting changes are going to be awkward for western society. People don’t like change. Just look at all the people who are still refusing to wear masks, even if it kills them. And it just might do that.

Then, what can we take away from 2020 as learning lessons?  Here are a few ideas…

  • Live each moment with a sense of gusto, because it is precious and tenuous, and can quickly fade within a heartbeat.
  •  Stop worrying and rehearsing for a possible disaster that never happens. Often, whatever we’re worrying about usually doesn’t come to fruition, and at the same time, we can get blindsided by something we never even anticipated.
  • We need to learn tolerance and mutual respect, even if we don’t see eye to eye on particular situations. What ever happened to respectfully agreeing to disagree? Many people have ended relationships this year because of political differences. Was it worth it?
  • There were those who refused to wear a mask to protect both themselves and those around them, turning a public health issue into a political issue. We need to be less selfish and gullible, and more caring of those around us.
  • Last, but certainly not least, we need to say “I love you“ to those that we care about.


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