By Isabel Rodriguez
Editor - Michael Gillardo
2020 brought the most unexpected obstacles and guilty joy. This year’s stillness was everlasting, yet any persistence for normality was met with patience. As 2020 was the year no one foresaw, it’ll be the year we will surely never forget.
The beginning part of my year was my normal. I went to amusement parks, concerts, baseball games, and even traveled, my blissful ignorance led me to take all that for granted. Like many, looking back, I regret not understanding how my normal could be gone in an instant.
COVID-19 shut down the world. Canceled plans and virtual hangouts were beginning to be my new normal. Although COVID-19 paused some lives, my life included, some continued to live as everything was normal and that took me a long time to accept. Not everyone seemed to care about the greater good and “the right thing to do” did not mean the same thing. On March 13th, I decided I care about the collective, and unlike many, I did not lie to myself about it and post something else on social media. My normal was gone.
I did not leave my house for weeks on end. Former President Barack Obama gave my commencement speech and I watched from my living room couch. I turned 18 alone. I entered college in my childhood home. I celebrated thanksgiving and Christmas without my family, just my household. My year was surrounded by so much sacrifice and to think that the years of other Americans did not look the same pains me more than anything. In 2020, it felt like I was doing a group project alone.
The choice I made to stop the spread of living in the most ravaged county in America was a choice that I did not think I would be making alone. As we struggle to get people to simply cover their face, residents of New Zealand are living my desired normal. While I would do anything for my normal to come back, 2020 has taught me that normal is out of my control.
As I looked for hope in orange fire smoked skies and watched CNN for hours on end, 2020 was a reality I needed to see, as it was one that required emotion. Life was always moving so fast that before now no one stopped to feel their feelings and act on them. Everyone took being alive for granted.
2020 taught me that if life gives you lemons, you thank life for giving you those lemons and then make lemonade. I am grateful for all the opportunities I had this year. All the zoom calls, all the new friends, all the new music, even all the new Trader Joe foods. Which leads me to think that true gratitude and kindness was only learned this year. As life was always on the move, pausing to remember who you are and what you have was rare before 2020, helping people through mutual aid funds and listening to your community was merely performative. Now, as everything around us collapses or does not go our way, gratitude will bring us hope.
In the end, all hope is not lost. Goodbye, 2020. While you did show us the worst in humanity, you reminded all of us what it means to be human.