To be honest, I never expected my next blog post to be written on the very last day of 2020.
I didn’t even plan to write anything a week ago, lest I’ll sound overly dramatic and emotional with all the reminiscence and rewind of everything that happened in 2020. I’ve seen enough posts about it. The same highlights; forest fire, corona virus outbreak, black lives matter, election, and a ton other things to name a few.
However, after much, much contemplation, I’ve come to realize that above all, 2020 had been an insurmountable obstacle in front of us–a mountain so high we thought we could never go past it, and yet we did. Maybe it’s the combination of all the bad things that happened this year (because, let’s face it, we’ve seen just about every bad things that could happen, happened in 2020). Or maybe it’s the fact that the year is ending, and we’re excited and giddy to welcome the new year, as if all our problems would just vanish the moment the clock strikes midnight.
The truth is, I know that things aren’t that simple. Sure, we finally have the vaccines for covid, but that doesn’t mean the virus would just straight up disappear after the year changes. And the bad things that happened; the friends and families and jobs we’ve lost, wouldn’t just return to us after the year ends. I know that. We know that.
So why do people all around the world seem to almost be relieved that 2020 is over, while the problems might persist? Why do I decide to write this blog post? Especially since I know that nothing will really change after the new year, at least not immediately?
For a lot of people, 2020 was a disaster. Close relatives and friends passed away, violence and riots breaking out here and there, being separated from their loved ones, and also losing their jobs. We’ve all seen the news; we all knew what 2020 had done to us. It was devastating. It was ruthless. It hit us. Hard.
However, for (also) a lot of people, we survived. I survived. Here I am, writing this blog post at the end of 2020, imagining how things might take a turn for the worse for me in the past 365 days, but nothing really bad happened to me.
Sure, things were not great with my job, and trying to work on my writing projects was difficult. Moving out from my house was a blessing (since I have my own space) and a curse (since I’m quarantined from the rest of the world) at the same time. For me personally, as much as 2020 had me bruised all over, it also taught me valuable lessons.
Do you guys remember the early weeks when the pandemic started? Or rather, what had happened since then? People rushing off to hoard hand sanitizers and disposable masks. Supermarkets being swarmed by people who stockpiled canned and instant food like it’s the apocalypse. The rise of video conferencing app, the working from home trend. People learning how to cook for the first time in their lives. Gardening. Stay-at-home exercises. Animal Crossing. Coffee in large bottles. Ready made meals. Face shields.
We have been through a lot.
And even writing about these things, while remembering what I was doing at the time when those things happened, made me quite emotional. If you were to tell me that I would–that we would–be facing these stuff in 2020, I would never had believed you. And yet these happened. And yet we survived.
And yet here we are, hours away from 2021.
Perhaps it’s not that people think 2021 will instantly make things better. Perhaps it’s just the fact that we’re going to greet 2021, knowing what we’ve been through. It’s unlike jumping into 2020, with a lot of new year’s resolutions, not knowing how the year would turn out.
This time, we know.
We know how hard the year could hit us. We know how painful it was being locked away in our rooms, not being able to be with our families and friends. We know how frustrating it was to see the news–how infuriating it was to see people still going out and about without wearing masks and physical distancing, while we were trying our best to stay at home and hope that the pandemic would end soon.
And we understand the weight of this pandemic differently. Some people understand it through the death of their loved ones. Some others understand it through seeing their favorite food chain and retailers going out of business, one by one. Some also understand it through canceling their travel plans. Through the back-to-back meetings with Zoom.
People understand what 2020 did to us from their improved cooking skills. Whereas they could only make instant noodles in 2019, now they’re able to meal prep their own food through the whole week. People understand from how their plants flourish and thrive, despite the lack of sunlight and the virus.
So maybe going into 2021 is more of a symbol than a cure. We know it would not take the sting 2020 left us away, but we know that we’re going into a new year, with all the things that left scars all over our hearts, but also with all the things that made us stronger.
2020 certainly made us stronger. From all the battles we’ve fought. From all the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the longing, the loneliness. From knowing that it has been the year to break us to pieces, but also the year we witnessed how humanity could pick up the broken pieces and build something stronger.
From knowing that we–me, and you guys who are reading this–are survivors.
And I’ll be raising my glass later tonight, during the countdown, wishing that 2021 will treat us better, while not forgetting what we’ve been through in 2020. Also, I’ll have a very exciting announcement in early 2021, so please stay tuned for that.
With everything being said, I’d like to extend my gratitude to my close friends and family. 2020 might have been a dreadful year, but you guys had made it a little less dreadful, and even a little more fun, to live the days by. You know who you are, and I love you guys.
Happy new year, beloved readers. Whether your 2020 was bad or dreadful, I pray that your 2021 will be at least a little better. I’ll see you guys next year!
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