“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” ~ Charles Dickens
Can you remember back to 2016?
We lost Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael, and people started posting “F*ck You 2016!” on social media.
For some, they could not imagine a year that could’ve possibly been more tragic. Then along came 2017, and we lost Chris Cornell, Tom Petty, and Greg Allman. Once again, the posts on Facebook showed people cursing the year: “Screw You 2017!”
I offer this as a backdrop because a lot of my friends are under the impression that with the pandemic, the presidential election, the state of the economy, and the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2020 was the worst year in modern human record.
There’s a lesson here. The old adage that “we will manifest what we focus on” has never been more true.
Given that, let’s take a moment and focus on 100 things about this past year that made it magnificent:
1. Cheap airfare.
2. That 1,200-dollar present from the government.
3. Fewer car accidents.
4. Whole communities clapping for medical workers.
5. 161 million people voted in the United States election.
6. AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and Ted Yoho—’nuff said.
7. The return of the drive-in movie theater.
8. A new appreciation for teachers.
9. The second person in the world cured of HIV.
10. Cheetah cubs were born in-vitro.
11. Inspiring protests for human rights.
12. Crayola made a box of crayons celebrating skin colors for everyone on the planet.
13. Eighty million people got the president they wanted.
14. Bob Dylan got his first #1 hit-single at the age of 79.
16. A 103-year-old woman beat COVID-19 (and celebrated with a beer)!
17. Bidets made a comeback!
18. Grocery workers and truck drivers were labeled “essential.”
19. Dolly Parton donated one million dollars to COVID-19 research.
20. Zoom 12-step meetings are still available 24 hours a day.
21. Stevie Nicks sold her entire song catalog for 100 million dollars.
22. Snoop Dogg as “color commentator” for the Tyson fight.
23. Van Jones breakdown on national television after Biden’s Win.
24. The election-week press conference in front of Four Seasons Landscaping.
25. Student loan forbearance!
26. Three teenage, Nigerian-Irish girls developed an app (Memory Haven) to help people with dementia.
27. An extra 600 dollars per week in unemployment for many people.
28. Jimmy Carter is still working with Habitat for Humanity at 96 years old.
29. The David Sedaris Masterclass on writing became available.
30. New York State made birth certificates available to everyone, helping countless people find biological family members for the first time.
31. Glennon Doyle published Untamed.
32. So many dogs and cats have been adopted that shelters are running low!
33. TIME Magazine made Joe Biden and Kamala Harris “Person of the Year.”
34. Winter holidays had to become less materialistic as people had less money to spend.
35. For a majority of business meetings, pants became optional.
36. Biologists are saying that our oceans may not actually be doomed after all.
37. H&M turned organic waste into vegan leather.
38. Tech start-up Carbios developed an infinitely recyclable plastic.
39. The Southern Jet Stream is beginning to heal.
40. A young Dutch engineer named Boyan Slat was able to remove tons of garbage from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
41. Celebrities raised 30 million dollars to help Australia with their wildfires.
42. COVID-19 gave many people the opportunity to follow their dreams after losing their soul-sucking jobs.
43. COVID-19 also gave many non-violent prisoners early-release.
44. Many distilleries switched gears and gave us unlimited amounts of tequila scented hand sanitizer.
45. Bill Burr, Nikki Glaser, and Burt Kreischer all gave us socially distanced, live comedy at drive-ins across the country.
46. NASA named its Washington, D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, its first Black, female engineer.
47. Brad Pitt starred as Anthony Fauci on “Saturday Night Live.”
48. John Krasinski from “The Office” gave us “Some Good News” when we needed it most.
49. Netflix brought us “The Floor Is Lava.”
50. Sarah Cooper on TikTok. (Look it up!)
51. Two dogs will live in the White House in 2021, and maybe a cat too.
52. The year gave rise to the best late-night show jokes.
53. “Christmas Star”: Saturn aligns with Jupiter four days before Christmas.
54. Community groups on social media came together to support small business owners.
55. There were many random acts of kindness from people who wanted to help their neighbors.
56. Some of us became better cooks (or bakers).
57. More birds in the skies.
58. More online courses available than ever before.
59. Less time commuting = longer time spent with family (or slow coffee drinking).
60. Realization that most jobs can be done from home.
61. Less money spent on clothes.
62. More “I love you’s” said.
63. More exercising.
64. Signs on windows made by children to spread the love
65. Dolphins were spotted in Venice as the canals cleared.
66. Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters had a drum battle with a 10-year-old fan.
67. “One World Together at Home” by Global Citizen streamed live on YouTube and gathered big names such as Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Chris Martin, Lady Gaga, and John Legend (among others).
68. Cuba-born Alejandro Mayorkas being the Department of Homeland Security secretary.
69. Black Friday was safer this year—more online shopping and less need to fight the crowds.
70. Smaller gatherings on holidays = less family drama.
72. First Black-Asian female Vice President.
73. Learning to cut your own hair (and maybe laughing or crying afterward).
74. Cheaper gas.
75. Becoming a superhero has never been so easy: simply stay home and be safe.
76. Introverts have the perfect excuse not to go out.
77. Cheaper office space.
78. Great time to sell your house (house market values are on the rise).
79. “Giving Tuesday” was more authentic and sincere this year.
80. Borat’s new “Subsequent” movie. (Enough said!)
81. Aunt Jemima (the syrup brand) decided to change its name in an effort to remove racial stereotyping.
82. CO2 emissions dropped seven percent.
83. More downloads of meditation apps during the pandemic.
84. Masks can hide our negative facial expressions.
85. Ladies and masks: not much need for makeup.
86. Simple follow-up doctor appointments can now be done online.
87. Minimalism wins.
88. Carpe diem attitude (living in the Now) adopted by many.
89. “Starry Night” theme…with skies clear, we see a lot more stars.
90. Pajamas and sweatpants—can’t beat that!
91. Zoom reunions with friends and family you hadn’t seen in a while, even before the pandemic.
92. Number of chess learners exploded after “The Queen’s Gambit.”
93. Taylor Swift’s fans were surprised with a second album launch.
94. “Parasite,” the first non-English language movie, wins the Oscar for Best Motion Picture.
95. Air travelers enjoyed the open middle seat.
96. Extra appreciation of all essential workers. How could we live without them?
97. Simple things (like toilet paper, soap, and water) were realized to be of great importance.
98. Netflix binge-watching.
99. Homemade mask donation to health care workers (beginning of the pandemic).
100. Police joined the crowd and marched with Black Lives Matter protesters.
Not everything about 2020 was as dreadful as we might believe.
Yes, the pandemic was responsible for an unprecedented number of deaths—over 1.6 million worldwide. Yes, many businesses have closed, and millions of people have lost jobs.
However, without positive reflection, we are lost. The quality of our lives is directly dependent upon whether we seek the light or the darkness.
We hope we were able to help you in your quest to find the light.