2020 has been a dumpster fire of a year, to say the least.
Humanity has been put through the wringer on all fronts.
In fact, if you were to have asked us at any point during the year how it could have gotten any worse, we’d have told you with fervent certainty that it couldn’t have.
Unfortunately, we were proven wrong with every month that passed.
Not to trigger your 2020 PTSD, but we’ve come a long way from the US/Iran WW3 threats and devastating Australian wildfires (bet you forgot about those.)
In the last 11 months, we’ve been through an ongoing global pandemic, multiple draconian lockdowns, indefinite economic uncertainty, and a historically grueling US election cycle. And that barely scrapes the surface of the collective trauma we’ve endured.
To put it bluntly, we’ve had just about enough.
A vaccine is still a while away and no, we don’t know what the future will hold. Nor can we guarantee that 2021 will be all that much better, to be perfectly frank.
But if we’re going to make it through what’s left of 2020, what we can and must do is focus on the positive things that happened this year.
Because believe it or not, they do exist.
So, in the name of getting you into the holiday spirit, here’s a list of 5 good things, both big and small, that happened in 2020!
Anna Del Priore
During a time when over 1.24 million people have tragically lost their lives to COVID-19, it’s important to remind ourselves that there are plenty of brave souls who do manage to survive it.
Meet Anna Del Priore, a 1918 Spanish flu pandemic survivor and dance aficionado living in New Jersey. Anna managed to beat the coronavirus just one month shy of her 108th birthday.
But Anna isn’t just famous for slaying 2 deadly viruses. She’s known for her deep love of life.
Despite her age, she continues to lead an active lifestyle, forever dancing, walking, and swimming. In fact, she credits this and her outlook on life with her recovery.
And the best part? Anna is just one of quite a few centenarians who have managed to overcome the virus. This includes her younger sister, 105-year-old Helen Guzzone who also survived both illnesses.
With the entire world currently gripped by the second wave of the virus, and everybody worrying about their loved ones and the future, people like Anna give us hope.
They remind us to keep our spirits high and our passion and optimism alive.
So next time things feel like they’re far too much to handle, put on your favorite playlist, grab your dancing shoes, and remember the words of Anna Del Priore:
“You keep living,” she says. “Dancing makes you feel good.”
Humor Prevailed in 2020
Despite the doom and gloom that has dominated 2020, you can’t deny that the memes have been top tier.
The internet truly has outdone itself. We can’t put our finger on exactly what it was that allowed for such comedic genius to be born, but our money’s on the combination of boredom, anxiety, and quite a bit of time to spare.
From Tiger King to quarantine life, memes like this one
And this one
Made us chuckle in between rising case numbers and terrifying headlines.
And during a time when our mental health was being challenged on the daily, those chuckles were essential to us getting through the day.
As social distancing and uncertainty over the future reigned supreme, it was nothing short of therapeutic to be able to laugh at our pain as a global community, if only for a moment. And it kept us all sane.
In fact, perhaps because of this strangely unifying trauma we’ve all been through, 2020 has raised the bar for internet humor for years to come.
So at least we’ve got that to look forward to.
Through thick and thin, no matter what happens in the world, it’s comforting to know that we will always have quality content to help us process terrible things through laughter.
And perhaps nothing sums this up more than the video below.
2020 & the Remote Working Revolution
The pandemic has been brutal on employment.
But it’s also revolutionized the collective mentality surrounding remote working.
It’s been a known fact that allowing employees to work from home can enhance productivity, improve mental health, and increase employee retention.
Just look at the stats from Forbes from an article written 1 month B.C. (before corona)
Employees around the world have been calling for this kind of flexibility for years. But companies have been reluctant to adopt the progressive philosophy, choosing instead to stick to the rigid 9-6 framework that has been methodically killing the soul of workforces for decades.
So, for all its faults, credit where credit is due – 2020 did force employers to snap out of their old fashioned ways and open their minds up to the remote working revolution.
Who knows why they were so resistant to it in the first place! Who doesn’t like saving money on real estate and employee expenses, while increasing productivity and output?
Though a lot of companies remain hesitant to allow this trend to continue once the pandemic is over, many other forward-thinking brands like Twitter, Facebook, Upwork, and Shopify have decided to continue the WFH model indefinitely.
And it looks like we’re heading into a future where most companies will adopt some form of both in-office and remote work in the years to come. A 60/40 onsite/remote “hybrid” by 2030, as BBC Worklife called it.
So for those of us who prefer the office environment, it seems as though we will all soon have the flexibility to choose moving forward.
So, thanks 2020! Really wish it hadn’t taken such drastic measures to get companies to listen, but better late than never, we suppose.
OK so those pictures of the dolphins in Venice were fake, but lockdowns did dramatically decrease carbon emissions by limiting daily movements and closing factories.
In fact, according to The Guardian, CO2 emissions dropped by more than 25% in April 2020.
While this brief “blip”, as scientists called it, would only be enough to reduce global heating by just 0.01C, a negligible difference, the new normal brought about by coronavirus will do wonders to help us avoid future warming.
Changes in people’s behavior thanks to phenomena like remote working can have a lasting impact if they are implemented in the long run. And as we’ve established, it looks like they will be.
However, the real change will lie in how we rebuild our economies following the pandemic.
So far, according to Reuters, economic stimulus packages around the world have reached $15tn and counting.
This money has been pledged to get economies back on their feet, both through central bank monetary policies like lowering interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as through investment programs to boost specific industries and sectors.
Bloomberg put the stimulus number at $12tn, with a pitiful 0.2% of that money being dedicated to investing in green recovery initiatives.
This means the money is there, but we’re not spending it on the right things.
If we want to save our planet, we need the post-COVID stimulus packages to focus heavily on renewable energy and green recovery, and not on fossil fuels.
And it’s up to the policymakers and world leaders to make sure that happens.
Which brings us to the final good thing that happened in 2020.
On November 7th, Democrat Joe Biden was announced as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, ending Donald Trump’s tumultuous 4-year reign in the White House.
And regardless of your political affiliation, the fact is, Donald Trump was a climate change denier, not just in principle, but in action.
The president controversially pulled out of the Paris Accord in 2017, effectively stunting international climate change efforts by removing one of the largest countries responsible for CO2 emissions from the discussion.
Now, with Biden set to take office in January 2021, the US is about to flip 180 when it comes to its position on climate.
The president-elect has vowed to rejoin the Agreement on his first day in office, allowing those of us who have torn our hair out in outrage for the last 4 years to finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Biden will have a considerable say in how stimulus packages are spent. And his campaign slogan, “Build Back Better” is well known within the green space to refer to renewable energy initiatives, meaning his platform will heavily focus on climate.
In addition, with proposed legislation like the Green New Deal being put forth by members of his party, the world can now hope for significant strides to be made when it comes to investing in renewable energy.
And here’s a little bonus bit of good news – large companies are stepping up on their own too.
Walmart has cut 230 million metric tons of greenhouse gases and Apple has pledged to become completely carbon neutral by 2030, hopefully starting a trend that other companies will jump on.
That’s right, friends, despite the apocalyptic pandemic-ridden year we’ve just had, there is hope for our planet after all.
So there you have it! 5 good things to make you feel better about 2020.
It’s been a tough one, that’s for sure. But hopefully, we can come out of it stronger, wiser, and more cautious when it comes to taking care of ourselves, our loved ones, and most importantly, our planet.