It’s that time of year again.
The time when our social media feeds are inundated with collages of people talking about the year’s achievements.
Like clockwork, every year I too look back on my year’s highlight reel, ignore the hard times and setbacks, slap a good filter on said highlight reel, and join in on the Instagram one-upping. (Is there any other kind of one-upping these days?) The typical millennial highlight reel includes places traveled, new jobs and promotions, and of course babies born or puppies adopted during the year.
But 2020 hasn’t been a typical year. For so many of us, 2020 has ranged from the unbelievably painful to, at the very least, extremely inconvenient. No one has been spared the havoc this year has wreaked on our individual and collective consciousness.
2020 was a long-time coming—the proverbial kick-in-the-pants wake-up call we’ve desperately needed. Yet as individuals who don’t decide policies, write laws, or give tax breaks to big companies, 2020 was unfair.
It was unfair to the millions of workers who lost their jobs as companies struggled to make payroll.
It was unfair to your neighborhood florist who had to say goodbye to a lifelong dream because her business relied on the foot traffic from the Sunday morning farmer’s market.
It was unfair to the millions of children who spent key developmental months (yes, with infants and children the early months are crucial) in isolation away from friends, siblings, and cousins.
It was unfair to the parents who worked long hours while playing cook, housekeeper, and babysitter in a 500-square foot apartment.
It was unfair to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
It was unfair to the thousands of protestors who were beaten or tear-gassed.
It was unfair to the millions of people who went into an ICU only to never come out.
Yes, we had it coming, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt like a b*tch. This year tested us. It tested our resilience, our capacity to come together and cooperate, and our willingness to change. It tested our ability to dig deep within ourselves, root out what isn’t working, and start building toward a better future.
And so, 2020 doesn’t need a highlight reel. It doesn’t need to be a competition at the end of the year to stack up against friends and family and see who achieved more life goals.
Just surviving the year is enough.
If all you did was self-reflect, listen, and learn, you’ve done more this year for yourself, your community, and the planet than you may ever know.
If all you did was reach out with words of kindness to friends and family who were struggling, you did an amazing job.
If all you did was wake up every day and make it to the shower, you did an incredible job.
If all you did was get out of bed and put your pants on, you did an incredible job.
If all you did was survive 2020, you did an incredible job.
Congratulations, you deserve a f*cking medal.