One of my pet peeves is when speech writers or journalists seek to define a word by opening with a dictionary entry. I truly hate it. But the word “aught” is special. It literally means everything or nothing, depending on the usage. For my purposes, describing 2020, it is a big fat zero. Most of the time, that is.
I was born in 1960. This year, I turned 60. I’m not a mathematician, but that was an interesting number phenomenon. Two years ago, in the time before COVID, I pictured hosting a huge party to commemorate such a milestone. I actually visited venues and priced out food options. The price tag for my shindig quickly outpaced the reasonable cost of a birthday. Canceling the party plans disappointed me and saner heads prevailed. I am so thankful to have pulled the idea off the table before the coronavirus did it for me. I ended up having a beautiful private dinner with super spouse instead. The evening and the meal were definitely two highlights of 2020.
It wasn’t possible to make it through this year without something you were looking forward to being canceled. It reminded me of the first time my (then) four-year-old grandson experienced a power outage.
“Just turn the lights on, Nana” he began.
They need power.
“Let’s just watch TV” he continued.
We can’t, it doesn’t come on.
“What about a movie?”
Sorry, not available.
“Okay, how about we watch videos on your computer?”
Nothing in his world worked without electricity. We ended up playing cards by candlelight. He thought it was an odd adventure. Now a middle school student, I asked him about distance learning. He took it in stride. “No, Nana. It’s not weird. It’s just different.” What a refreshing attitude, I thought. Must’ve been the Crazy Eights.
Yes, a lot of things didn’t happen in 2020. But there were some silver linings, too. People began to view their homes a bit differently. I cleared out my floor to ceiling storage area in my basement and between the dumpster, donations and diligence I reduced the detritus by half. My brother helped me set up a meditation sanctuary in the new space, which has worked out spectacularly. A lot of people used their quarantine time to reevaluate what didn’t serve them and to find joy in the rest.
I saw pictures of cities whose air quality improved almost overnight. Businesses discovered the real meaning of essential travel and most of us remembered to wear pants while video conferencing. Then there was the election.
Determined to change the trajectory of the current administration, I clocked many hours in Zoom Rooms and on the phones to Get Out The Vote. And people across the country responded by voting en masse for a new president. This is a wonderful event we have to look forward to in 2021.
So, this was supposed to be the start of a fabulous new decade. Instead, we got a major reset. With all of the dire consequences suffered by so many this year, I can’t help but look back with gratitude. I didn’t have a job to lose. I didn’t gain weight. There’s a vaccine on the horizon. And I still love my athleisure outfits.
Take care, friends. I wish you a very Happy New Year.