The end of one year and the beginning of another is always greeted with a sense of anticipation and excitement. The weeks leading up see the media filled with reflections on the year past and predictions for the one to come, ranging from the profound and informative to the ubiquitous and by the numbers top ten lists.
A neverending cycle
Many of us will make a list of resolutions regarding how we intend to start things off, a few of us will actually stick to them. In a multitude of different countries, and in a multitude of different ways, people will gather together to countdown to the moment the clock strikes midnight.
Social media will fill with people sharing the things that will be what comes to mind when they look back on the year gone, and expressing their hopes and dreams—for themselves and those they care about—for what the new one has in store.
Before we know it, the fresh new year will be staggering to a finish, and the cycle will start all over again like it has year after year. We’ll do much the same things to say farewell to the year just gone as the one before, and start out with the same optimism that this will be the year we’ve been waiting for that we do every year.
A sheep of a different colour
But, it seemed to me that there was something a bit different about this New Year, that it wasn't just the same old routine. There was no nostalgic regret it was coming to an end, or encouragement to savour it while it lasted. People weren’t counting down to New Year’s Eve because it meant starting a new year, but because they couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2020. And when they did talk about 2021 it wasn’t with
It's hard to imagine that any year, since the last world war anyway, that saw so many people not only counting the days until it was over, but will be happy to forget it ever happened. Worry about what the coming year would bring was the last thing on anyone’s mind, all that mattered was getting out of this one.
It was hard to imagine that anything could be worse than a year that started with the country on fire, but they were soon rendered into background noise by a global pandemic that literally changed our lives.
What are we going to do about it?
To many people, 2020 always be remembered as a lost year, a year they can’t get back. It will be a year they associate with missing out, with lost opportunities, with things that slipped away. It’s tempting to act like just flicking over those numbers will be enough to make everything better, that nothing else is required.
But, the truth is, no matter how out of the ordinary 2020 was and how happy we are to see 2021 arrive, in the most important way this time around is no different than any other old year giving way to the new. 2021 is only going to be as good as we make it, and 2020 can either be a year we learn from or one that we fail to heed the lessons it gave us.
That’s the challenge we face this year, all of us. What we do in the next 12 months will decide whether 2020 was simply a waste, a year we never get back, and it will determine what we make of 2021. What are you going to do?
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html