Jodi Barnes, PhD
4 min readDec 4, 2020


A nod to our (relative) luck that it was you among infinite possibilities

Hey, 2020: Before your time is up, I wanted to let you know that I know you are not the villain.

You are a container of time. A time begat from all past time.

You are the year that gets tossed the hot potato when the buzzer goes off. Not a malicious creator of chaotic crimes against humanity.

Your container is a cup repeatedly running over. It has sloshed, waterboarded, and drowned us to varying degrees in pandemic proportions. I am not making light of suffering and death. I’m trying to find a way to acknowledge that you, like anyone, may be stretched beyond the breaking point.

Photo by Thorn Yang from Pexels

Since your purpose is to offer 365 days, not to be responsible for what’s happened during them, I’d like to acknowledge that keeping humans safe from wildfires and other repercussions of this ailing planet is not your job.

Nor can you be blamed for a global pandemic and the morally and ethically bankrupt leaders who have blood on their hands.

You aren’t 1492 or 1619, or any of the subsequent 400 years America has had to acknowledge, apologize and make reparations (they, too, were containers). You didn’t cause the murders of George, Breonna, Ahmaud, or scores of other people of color. You didn’t rig any election or pave the way for Amy Coney Barrett.

The hot potato buzzer got thrown at you. It was your turn. Your turn to mark time — regardless of the ways we humans choose (or are forced) to spend it.

So, thank you for any herculean moves you might have made to keep the earth spinning. Or to prevent more tragedy from spilling.

If there exists a multiverse of possibilities, it’s possible that you 2020, the year so many people claim to hate, may be the BEST, the least apocalyptic 2020 we could have hoped for.

Photo by Stem List on Unsplash



Jodi Barnes, PhD

Writer and Collaborator-in-Chief of where small acts of writing, art and conversation create multicultural connections for good.