January 8, 2021
Around 365 days, 8760 hours, or 525,600 minutes ago, the world rang in a new year and a new decade. As the last seconds of 2019 ticked away and my family and I watched the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, I wondered what the new year would bring. I never could have guessed that in a matter of months, the entire world and life as I knew it, would be turned upside down.
Undoubtedly, 2020 was a year that tested the world’s resilience. Over one million lives were lost to COVID-19, millions of people lost their jobs, countless businesses had to close, and natural disasters caused devastation around the world. This year is one that will shape the future for years, even generations to come. Not only that, but the events of 2020 have affected and changed the lives of almost everyone. Personally, 2020 has given me a greater sense of appreciation and gratitude for the world around me, as well as hope and optimism for the future.
Back in March, as the pandemic took its toll on our everyday lives, many of the things I took for granted vanished in a blink of an eye. Although my troubles were relatively trivial compared to what many others were facing, they nevertheless left a lasting impact on me.
As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. When schools closed and my middle school years silently slipped away without much celebration or a formal graduation, I realized how important it is to appreciate and cherish every moment. Furthermore, adjusting to and experiencing online learning firsthand gave me a greater admiration for the teachers and staff of our schools.
This year also taught me about the strength and kindness of our community. Though it may have seemed as if 2020’s circumstances pushed everyone away from each other, I believe that in a way, the year’s events also brought our community closer together, metaphorically of course.
In hardships, our community, both locally and globally, came together for good causes. As the pandemic raged on, the world worked together to support those fighting for their lives against COVID-19, and the doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers keeping everyone safe. In the face of acts of racial injustice, people joined together in the Black Lives Matter movement, one of the largest movements in U.S. history, to strive and advocate for justice and equality. Additionally, on a local level, our town has strived to make the best of things for everyone and to find joy in difficult times, such as by organizing socially distanced trick or treating for Halloween and holding a holiday light competition for the winter holidays. This kindness and unity has greatly inspired me to seek out more ways to do good in the world, as well as to always look on the bright side of things.
So, as 2020 draws to a close and I once again find myself counting down the seconds to a new year, I will look towards 2021, not with pessimism or hesitancy, but with optimism and hope.