2020 has been a whirlwind of a year; a global pandemic impacting the lives of everyone from children to adults, entrepreneurs to big businesses, and professionals to artists.
For most of us, 2020 is going to be remembered as a dreadful year, and not only because of the pandemic. Firstly, several bush fires in Australia destroyed almost 46 million acres of land, devastating our ecosystem and causing deaths of almost 800 vertebrate species. Clouds of smoke could be seen from several Australian cities, making residents realize how close we are to the changes induced by climate change. Then, there was racial unrest in the U.S., further forest fires in California.
Series of ghastly events continued to occur all over the world such as Taal volcano in the Philippines which took lives of 6,000 people and also forced villagers to flee; communal riots in Delhi, India which resulted in bloodshed and destruction of property; devastating floods in Indonesia which forced 400,000 people to flee their homes. Many more uncountable horrifying events happened in 2020. Nonetheless, the most unforgettable experience for billions of people in the world is the COVID- 19 pandemic.
Of course, the pandemic made everyone’s life difficult as we adapted to newly introduced social guidelines. People could not visit their families. Everyone had to wear masks all the time and maintain physical and social distance. There were no parties and no functions. People could not travel from one place to another to prevent the spreading of the virus. Moreover, even if people in some countries and places were not hit directly by the virus, the country’s economy was hit hard. There were thousands of people who lost their jobs without any warning. Thousands of companies were forced down due to unproductivity. Thousands of schools had to change their curriculum plans. Many cases of mental health issues were brought to light due to the pandemic.
Despite all of these facts and figures, when somebody says ‘2020 has been the worst year of my life’, I just sit back and think ‘Has it been so bad that no good can come out of it?’
Needless to say, 2020 was not a year everyone assumed it to be, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The death rate in 2020 was 7.612, which to be honest, is similar as compared to other years in the decade. Actually, there were many ‘YEARS’ before 2009 where the death rate was comparatively much higher than in 2020. The full data can be found in World Death Rate 1950-2021 | MacroTrends. See, our parents and ancestors have experienced worse than us. It is just that the situation might not have been towards this global extent.
OK, let us come back to 2020. I agree that the world would have been much better without the pandemic but somehow, I feel like it has brought the best in us as well, especially the social and emotional part us as human beings. We got to stay with our family, spend quality time together with them, getting to know each other better; filling the gaps once we all had created running after being economically stable. The ones who did not get a chance to stay with their families realized the importance of family and reached to them more often than before. We got to see the good side of people; humanity, where everyone helped each other in need spreading positivity and also giving all the basic needs to people in need. It also gave us time for self-development. People started doing yoga, meditation, reaching out to their friends and relatives to relieve their stress. Some started to do online courses for professional development. Overall, these all added some meaning to our life and we grew stronger emotionally and mentally.
Looking globally, due to lockdowns and restrictions, there were very few vehicles running which greatly decreased the pollution in the world. The carbon emissions fell by 7% in 2020. The lands were greener and also the water in the oceans blue and clean. So, we are now living in a very clean and healthy atmosphere than we were living in 2019. Financially too, for many companies in the world, they have realized that working-from- home productive for workers and they do not need all that expensive office-spaces to make their employees productive.
Instead, employees were found to spend more time on their jobs. Some big companies like Twitter have already announced that their employees have the option to work from home, FOREVER.
As it is with two sides of a coin, the pandemic too brought out some bad aspects and some good aspects. It is up to us to decide which aspect to focus on.
May, in 2021 and beyond, we take the experiences of 2020 and work towards making ourselves and our society better.