Remembering 2020

 With all the COVID  warnings and mask wearing rules, Thanksgiving still happened. People traveled, people hugged. Food was left out too long on the counter tops and booze flowed freely. Airports were busy and malls were crowded. You can’t sit on Santa’s lap, but you can yell at him through a sheet of smudged plexiglass. Spending it up from last year, according to the evening news.

I wonder how people have even more money than usual to spend on presents with the pandemic circling all around us. You see people in endless lines at food banks, yet the news says holiday spending is up. How is that possible? I don’t know. So many places are closed. Either temporarily, or permanently. Folks are scrambling for jobs and trying to get unemployment. So how then, is holiday spending up this year?

Is it the fake news that the president is always screaming about? Are people throwing in the towel and saying, “Screw it, I’m buying the Baby Yoda and some Ferrero Rocher chocolates!” Sometimes I think we do do that. Give in to the pressure and go whole hog. And I think that’s ok. Sometimes you have to just throw caution to the wind and be a little irresponsible.

Things will change no matter what we do, or don’t do. We all have free will to make choices and decisions, whether good or bad. On days where we feel sorry for ourselves and whatever situation we have found ourselves in the middle of, it’s easy to give in and be a little bit selfish. On sunny days, when things are going well, it’s easy to pay it forward.

There is the crux. On the days when we can’t see the silver linings and blessings, those are the days when we need to pay it forward and look for those smiles. Not wallow in the woes, whether real or imagined.

This year has really tried to kick us in the teeth and hard. It’s done a magnificent job of it, that’s true. So many people have lost their lives from this horrible virus. Children have been orphaned, many have lost not one, but both parents. We are repeatedly warned to social distance. No hugging those we love. No touching anyone outside our home, with even a handshake. This is not how humans are programmed. We need those hugs, handshakes, high fives, a pat on the back. We aren’t meant to be solitary.

The most loving time of year is here. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa. Families gather, people are out in force to shop, eat and attend parties. It seems everyone is scrambling about, trying to enjoy their traditions and celebrations and all the time, we have the news there in the background, screaming at us to stop the celebrations, stay in your home. Have virtual meals with grandma. Wear a mask if you dare to venture out. Then there’s a news story about huge parties being busted by the police! We’re going underground to gather in huge numbers! To dance and be around one another!

Will America be able to follow some kind of rule to help slow this virus down? Or will we self-destruct and watch as our lives fall like dominoes? Will the vaccine they are pushing out actually work? Can this thing be eradicated?

There are lessons here, during this pandemic. This new age of the Dark Ages. Many lessons. Blessings and curses. It has caused us all to take pause. To take stock as to what is and what is not important, in our lives. What makes a difference. What is just fluff. Where do we want to go? Where do we want to see ourselves in a year. We’ve had lots and lots of togetherness in our homes over the last several months. It’s a blessing we will look back on fondly, even when we have cabin fever and feel a great need to get away from our housemates, if even for an hour or two. Tragedies

I have no doubt that we will get through this pandemic. That’s what we do. The world has seen countless tragedies. We manage to push through and come out on the other side. Yes, worse for wear, yes, and so sadly, lives are lost. The scientists have been working at breakneck speed to mix a vaccine to kill this awful thing. It might work, but I think it will need tweaks and changes to perfect it. Many more lives will be lost. But in the end we will preserver and come through.

Things may never be back to “normal.” Masks may become a fashion accessory for a long time! We will adjust. There will be growing pains. They come with all changes. And things change all the time.

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