Well, to hear everyone else talk, the entire universe is anxious for 2020 to be over, and people are already celebrating today as much as tomorrow.
Not me. I think it's disingenuous to write off an entire year as terrible, because first of all, if you can do that, it means that you made it through the year. Secondly, I don't want to live my life focusing on only what comes next. If you only live in the future, you miss the good in the present.
(Also - remember people who kept saying "Oh my God, I can't wait for 2019 to be over - bring on 2020! Well, watch what you wish for.)
In the overarching sense of time and this past year, of course it was tough. And heartbreaking. And frustrating. And in so many ways, not good at all. I don't know anyone who wanted the Covid-19 pandemic to happen, or who wants it to continue. I'm not talking about that, because that is something that required a whole 'nother level of thought, behavior, and caring (or none, if you are certain people who shall not be named here because we all know who they are).
But guess what? People still had birthdays. Babies were still born. Things could still be funny. You were free to keep loving your family and your life. Even at the worst of times, being around to experience all of it was better than the alternative.
At the beginning of the year, I choose the word "Attend" as my One Little Word. Not in the sense of attending a party or a concert or whatever. In the sense of pay attention, attend to the world and your life. If anything, the lockdown and the pandemic only helped me with all of this.
When dear friends lost loved ones to Covid-19, I was able to feel their sorrow and do what I could through words, prayers, and actions to help. It likely didn't help that much, but paying attention to their grief gave me the chance to know that they needed love and friendship more than ever.
Because none of us could really go anywhere, I learned to pay more attention to my everyday surroundings. I noticed the true sweetness of not just my husband and our pets, and how we all *attended* to each other, but how the world outside, in our garden, or our neighborhood all attended to each other. The birds sang no matter what, the squirrels chased each other up and down and all around for God knows what reasons. Geese and sea gulls still flew past, making noise and headed someplace where they felt they needed to go. Bugs and insects still flew around, to plants, flowers, and into the dirt to do all they things they need to do (even mosquitoes, my archenemies, goddammit!). I spent more time walking around than ever before, *attending* to more because I wasn't involved in so much else that didn't and shouldn't really matter so much.
I appreciated the nice days when I could get outside for a nice walk. I despaired of all the rainy days (there were way too many around here, while other places that needed it got none). I still hated heat and humidity, and still wish(ed) for a decent winter with some snow. I celebrated my birthday the first weekend of shutdown, and found ways to celebrate everything else as time continued.
I learned that I disliked certain things and certain people even more than I believed I did. (I won't go into that here, because a) you probably can guess some things, and b) knowing the others won't change your life for the better.) I found truth in the feeling I always had that if I could ever retire, I'd be pretty darn content (nice to know, but unlikely to happen anytime, especially anytime soon). It was frustrating to not be able to just say, "I think I'll go to ____" tomorrow and be able to do it, but it was/is rewarding to know that not only am I not sick from Covid, but that hopefully I didn't contribute to anyone else getting it.
And don't forget - we voted and got rid of Donald Trump - a true highlight for me!
Don't get me wrong, it will be nice to be able to see my family who are all out-of-town sometime again, or spend a day at the shore in the summer, or even just decide that I'll walk into Center City and meet a friend for lunch. But I have to be perfectly honest - I'm not sorry that the world slowed down and even if forced, other people had to start "attending."
To paraphrase one of the songs from the musical "Wicked"
Who can say if I've been changed for the better ... but because this happened ... I have been changed for good.
Congratulate yourself because you made it to today. Let yourself be sad for the losses, and happy for the good, no matter how small. Thank whatever/whoever you believe in that 2020 is on its last day, and you are here for it. Do it today, because when tomorrow comes, this will be the past.
Enjoy your New Year's Eve - drink a toast to this past year, and then look ahead and drink another one to 2021. We can't know what it will be, but we'll all be there anyway.