By Patricia Yannotta, CALA, CDP;
Director of Hospitality & Lifestyle, Fellowship Village
Now that 2020 is gone, I decided to make peace with its whirlwind and reflect. Thank you 2020 for coming into our lives to help us learn to adapt. Thank you for showing us what really matters and the value of what we have (or had, in sadly, too many cases). But, I’m not sorry to see 2020 go and welcome its replacement with open arms.
It wasn’t just the world health crisis from COVID-19 causing 2020 to wreak havoc in our lives. Unprecedented times and situations flooded 2020. The killing of George Floyd by an officer and the resultant worldwide protest for social justice. The election. Protests. Violence. Brexit. Black Lives Matter. Murder hornets and lantern flies. Wildfires. Fake news. Real news.
Preventing COVID meant our restaurants had to move outdoors and rely on take out orders while our theaters and stages went dark. Crowds and large gatherings banned. Isolation and quarantine became common. Physical distancing. Hand sanitizer. Church services online. Bars closed. Education and business meetings conducted remotely. Lockdown. Counting the numbers of ventilators in use. Long lines at stores and to get into places like the DMV. Family get-togethers gathered around screens instead of tables. Birthday parades instead of parties. Chaos. Sports without spectators or a regular season. Solitude. 2020 closed with ongoing staggering unemployment, and the horrible reality that 337,000+ fewer Americans aren’t welcoming 2021 because they were taken by COVID-19.
2020 taught us much. It taught us how life is precious and fragile. It showed us how quickly the human spirit can decline and proved isolation affects our overall health. It shed some much-needed light on the vulnerability of our elders and most vulnerable among us. It gave us a glimpse of what it’s really like to be oppressed—Black or Brown, Foreign or stereotyped, gay or trans, poor or unemployed—and what it means to be marginalized.
Somewhere in all the chaos, hope emerged. We gave gratitude and kudos for those on the front line in health care. Nurses, caregivers and healthcare workers were rightfully recognized as heroes. We found more appreciation for our police, fire, EMTs and essential workers. Musicians and artists gave free concerts and raised money and awareness for causes. We learned technology was the hope for the future, and even the most resistant of us learned to adapt and use it. We Facetimed, we Zoomed. We volunteered. We prayed. We voted. We cooked more meals and made our own gardens. We tapped elbows and toes for handshakes and masked our faces. We washed our hands and sanitized our groceries. We played outside and cleaned out closets. We cried. We adapted.
We saw the resilience in the human spirit and it gave us hope. We closed the year with an emergency use authorization of two vaccines giving us more promise that a light had emerged at the end of the tunnel of chaos.
We learned that culture change is necessary and possible, and radical change can happen faster than we think. Consider what change can do for us in 2021–and how much of it is way overdue. Instead of (or in addition to) your New Year’s resolutions, make 2021 the year you become part of the solution. Make hope, justice and culture change part of your daily narrative. Then walk the walk.
Here’s to a healthy and better world in 2021 and hugging our loved ones for as long as we want once again.