It’s finally time to bid farewell to 2020. Whew, what a year. 2020 began with a lot of promise—a new decade with a futuristic name, the spirit of change in the air, and energized people excited for “the roaring ’20s.”
Then tragedy struck, and seemed to keep striking in slow motion throughout the next 12 months. By now, the story of 2020 is a familiar one: wildfires, civil unrest, a fraught political climate, and of course COVID-19.
But even as we all remained locked down and unable to socialize or see loved ones, the COVID pandemic has revealed just how connected to one another we are and how important those connections are. Things we’ve taken for granted—the second family provided by schools, a hug from a friend, and even a smile from a stranger—take on a new significance when they’re gone.
And while the pandemic might not have affected everyone in the same way, it is something we truly experienced together—something that touched everyone’s lives on planet earth. It’s remarkable when you think about it.
Against this tragic backdrop of disease, environmental calamity, and civil strife we got to see some of the finest qualities of humanity play out. Teachers, who are already generous with their time, found new ways to reach children. Families separated by quarantine showed us you can’t lock down love. And complete strangers of all races stood together to demand racial justice.
The one thing 2020 taught us is that human beings want to be together and that humanity wants to pull together. No matter how 2020 tried to pull us apart—whether it was through disease, racism, or cynicism—humanity found a way to pull together.
The innate human tendency to seek out and form connections—to build communities—is what we saw again and again in 2020. That’s what we should focus on and maybe that will make you (at least somewhat) a little more hopeful for 2021.