Thoughts As The Year Ends

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev’rything that stands
The end

– Jim Morrison, The Doors

We say goodbye to 2020 as the year ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. Most people are glad to see it go, and are hoping for better things in 2021.

It was a year ago today that the first news reports if a new flu-like virus came out of Wuhan, China. Did you pay any attention at the time? Did you even see the stories?

I don’t think I noticed until about a week later, and I didn’t expect it to have any impact on my life. Could I have been more wrong?

For many people. 2020 has been a lost year. I get that. But I think it is counter-productive to concentrate on the negatives, on the things that are perceived as being disappointments in the past year.

Because really, for most of us, it hasn’t been that bad, just inconvenient. Surely we can overcome inconvenience, can’t we?

Yes, many people have been sick. Some have died. I know that. While not contracting COVID-19 myself, I know a lot of people who have. One person from the Bible study group I attend weekly died of the disease. I don’t discount the human toll. But most people recover. That is something to be thankful for – it could have been a lot worse.

Similarly, while millions have lost their employment, western countries at least have programs that have cushioned that blow. Job loss has been more problematic where government is unable to provide support.

Masks are an annoyance. Ditto closed shops and restaurants. My soul is craving live music – this is the first year in decades I have not ben able to attend a rock concert or two. But even then, there have been online alternatives. Not quite as good for those of us who like it loud, but better than nothing.

People though have come together in face of a common problem. Neighbors are looking our for each other. For the first time in memory people have something in common that cuts across cultures, nationalities, language and religion.

We have put aside the many things divide us, but we are united in a battle against COVID-19. Or at least that is the hope.

Can this be a springboard to better understanding and empathy towards those who are different from ourselves? There has been unprecedented international cooperation in 2020. Will it continue in 2021?

As people have sheltered in place this year they have discovered that technology, though a poor substitute for touch, does allow us to stay in contact with others, both down the street and around the world. We’ve discovered that many of us can work from home – and that may continue in the post-pandemic world.

The world on December 31 looks nothing like what we expected on the first day of the year. I do think we all deserve a pat on the back for coming through the year with our sanity more or less intact.

On January 1, I shared these thoughts: What does 2020 hold for Random Thoughts From Lorne? You can expect whatever comes to my mind – the usual mixture of political commentary, travel experiences, book reviews and only God knows what else. I have some trips that I haven’t shared all the pictures I intended, so expect to see some travel posts from Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Italy, to name a few, as I get caught up. I also have a few trips already scheduled for the year: Spain, England, Cyprus and, hopefully, Egypt. There will be pictures and impressions from those. And some local (for me) travels in France and Germany – a colleague who used to live in our area has made some recommendations.

Those travel posts I promised never happened, except a couple of the ones from past trips. And not all of those as I found other topics to write about. I’m hoping perhaps for some limited travel in late 2021, but I make no promises about that.

My mind is jumping today from topic to topic, thought to thought. Thank you for being part of my world in 2020. I hope you have had as much fun as I have.

I look forward to sharing 2021 with you. Given what we know already about how the year is going to unfold, I think we should make seat belts mandatory for our trip together.

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