There is going to come a time, very soon I think, when we are all going to be processing what we’ve all been through this year from the outside. 2020 the year is coming to an end very shortly. By the end of 2021, the COVID pandemic will be a memory for most people, rather than a current state of being. In some ways, I am almost dreading this time because it will mean leaving this time of common experience, when the world as a whole was experiencing a collective tragedy. Our collective trauma will be etched on the brains of everyone on earth alive now. No one will forget 2020.
Everyone has sacrificed something this year. Many have paid the ultimate price, losing their lives to COVID or to other, more mundane diseases like cancer. Others have sacrificed the lives of their loved ones. But not only that, there was a huge loss in the intimate interpersonal experience associated with the beginning and end of life, which are the most sacred transitions. Families said goodbye to their parents and grandparents over an iPad, unable to hold the hands of their loved one as they passed. First time grandparents (and sometimes even fathers) were unable to be present for the birth of their newest family members. This all adds up to a collective human experience of epic proportions. We will never get those lost experiences back.
For those of us who are fortunate not to have been touched by that kind of human loss, there are still a great many things we have lost as well. I thought I would write a series of articles, each relaying something I did, had or had access to in 2019 that I no longer do in 2020. This series is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather the beginning of a documenting of things in my life (activities, habits, patterns of thought) that I either miss now, or have been liberated from. Because that is the beauty of external events that are this catastrophic is that we are all stunned, shaken, jolted into a new state of being. People who are trying to present themselves as unchanged by 2020 are not yet grappling with the enormity of what it means to have endured this year. We are all changed by 2020.
I invite any and all readers to think deeply about what you may have lost and, if you are comfortable doing so, consider sharing in the comments. If any of my lost things resonates particularly, I would love to hear. Since we have been so distanced all year, I would really appreciate comments offering commonality and shared experience.