It had seemed so beautiful and positive at first. Even funny, with those two round figures without edges to be broken in two when pronounced. "Twenty twenty" - like two identical glass marbles rolling on the tongue. Instead it broke us: quite unexpectedly, one day in mid-March, 2020 brought us all to our knees.
For some, 2020 was not just any year. It was the year of changes. The year we celebrated until dawn on January 1st with hopes, many of emotions and the desire to do something; anything. For some, 2020 was the year of their graduation, of their 18th or 50th birthday. Of their marriage or their anniversary. It was the year to adopt a baby, to ask for a rise, to travel far away, to leave a violent partner. But everything turned out differently. For some things there is still time, for others not anymore. There is no overtime: the biological deadlines are no longer recoverable, they just pass.
It could have been worse, it could have been better. Some have stopped, without knowing how, or when - or if - they can start again. Others, on the other hand, never stopped. When it was thought that the emergency was over, they were thrown back into the ward to relive everything again from the beginning. Each of us have our own story, with our own personal balance sheet to measure misfortunes. Was it a year thrown away or to be thrown away? Neither. It was a year lived intensely, with the awareness that nothing - NOTHING - could be taken for granted.
So now, that we are almost at the end of this 2020, can we really look back and be grateful for something?
If you ask people what experiences have made them who they are today, almost everyone will answer by pointing out their most difficult and painful experiences. As human beings, we only learn after we have been forced to endure deprivation and hardship. We evolve thanks to the strenuous efforts we make to try to overcome these difficult times. And only after that, do we feel gratitude.
Many will look to 2020 as a year they would not want to repeat, but I believe it has also taught us fundamental lessons. Personally, I am grateful that, in these tumultuous months, many have realised what it means to be citizens of the world, developing a new awareness of their responsibilities towards the community. I am also grateful for my family and friends: it has been hard to stay in touch and spend time together, but the effort we now have to put into keeping up personal relationships makes us appreciate them even more. I am grateful for the challenges of deciding how to fill my time in a meaningful way, because it helped me developed deeper appreciation for things I sometimes take for granted. I am grateful for a global, newfound awareness of social issues and for all the people who stand up and fight for justice, fairness and compassion. I am also simply grateful for the fact that 2020 is finally coming to an end. But most of all, I am grateful just to be here. And you? What are you grateful for?
Written by Miriam Tagini