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.
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.
I’m completely serious. Here are 20 things I’m thankful for, so far:
- I’ve learned more about people, although much of it depressed me. Humans are much less intelligent, empathic and compassionate when we are in a cult. And there are so many cults.
- I continue to like my husband who is too contrary for any cult.
- The people who are committed to peace building through social and economic justice. (I get to work with several of them; they kept me going.)
- Therapy. It saves lives.
- Art. It also saves lives. I made this collage for you:
6. Science saves lives (and makes us less stupider).
7. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER.
8. Admitting (reluctantly) that most people NEED to be right, regardless of losing relationships with people who love them.
9. The lengths and breadths people will go to hold on to privilege, even when that means delusions that they deserve it and others don’t.
10. Politics and religion are more than strange bedfellows. After 40 years, they’ve proliferated like rabbits. (This ain’t nearly over, America.)
11. Identity is a paradox. We are more than our group identities yet snubbing them ignores who we fully are.
12. Most of us are addicted to the banality and manufactured drama of others’ lives. (That’s why The Social Dilemma isn’t likely to change most people.)
13. Being “connected” has nothing to do with meaning or meaningful connection.
14. Idiocracy, the movie, has come to pass.
15. Cats and dogs make great friends. Find one at your local shelter.
16. Being blocked or rejected by family doesn’t hurt as much when you fully accept yourself and admit that self-growth is more important than their acceptance.
17. All the sleepless nights full of worry that forced me to face that I am not in control, I will die, and as Red from Shawshank Redemption says, I’d best “get busy living”.
18. More opportunities to give more, buy less.
19. Being a better conservationist. Before you, I wasted too much time, money, and effort on things that didn’t matter.
20. Hope. If it is the thing with feathers, I must help keep it safe from extinction. Please, 2020, pass that along to your successor, just in case.