2020 will go down in the history books as the year of chaos. I am sure I will one day hear my kids complaining while studying for their history test that too much happened in 2020. However, there are some positive aspects that came out of the fear, hatred, and violence that plagued the world throughout the last 365 days. To start, we learned the power of physical touch, emotional connections, science and health. Additionally, although heart wrenching, the Black Lives Matter movement showed America that we still have a lot of strides to make before racial equality is accomplished. To quote the philosopher Aristotle, “Everything happens for a reason.” Perhaps the reason we had to endure so much heartache this year was to remind us of the things we take for granted.
I, for one, will be hugging my grandparents and never letting go the second that it is safe to do so. I never realized how much I valued things like hugs, seeing people’s faces, and thoughtlessly being in public spaces. Additionally, fostering relationships throughout the pandemic has kept a lot of us remotely sane. Even though spending time with friends is less personal over the phone, a simple phone call with my friends made my day. Realizing that everyone was going through a tough time taught us to not only be empathetic but to also remember to check in on our loved ones. As we move forward, I will continue to cherish every moment with family and friends.
To most Americans, before the pandemic, good health meant eating a well balanced diet and occasionally exercising. Now, good health means so much more; on top of eating well and exercising, the pandemic has drawn attention to the seriousness of emotional health. More than ever, people are struggling with their mental health. The constant stress and anxiety that comes with a global pandemic will leave a mark on all of us. With that, has come a newfound ability to ask for help. Normalizing mental healthcare is undoubtedly important to overall health. Like the heart, kidneys, or colon, the brain is an organ that can get sick, too. Having open conversations about mindfulness and self care has been common throughout the pandemic and hopefully this is a trend that will survive.
Fighting for Equality
In addition, racial inequities were in the spotlight this year. I never thought that during a pandemic I would be kneeling in the street, with a mask on, among hundreds of other people with my fist raised in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The horrors we witnessed this year through the unjust executions of people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor will never be okay. However, the movement that came out of the horror will never be forgotten. People of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and races came together to prove that Black Lives Matter. Moving forward, we must continue to recognize inequality to better our country.
Although I am not trying to make light of the tragedy we endured over the last year, I am trying to find the light in the darkness. My heart breaks for every loved one lost in 2020 and I ask that you all join me in honoring them by retaining connectivity with our loved ones, continuing to care for our overall well being, and pursuing racial equality in America. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge all that our healthcare heroes and essential workers did to get America on the other end of the global pandemic. I know the fight is not over yet, but hope is in sight. This holiday season, let’s safely enjoy the company of loved ones, either in person or online, and foster hope because help is on the way.