2020 was undoubtedly a different year for must humans on earth. At least the ones living in cities and towns as we know them.
Must of all started the new year as usual, with resolutions, hopes and disappointment, etc.
While a great lot of people start a new year with hopes of having a more fulfilling life, more rewarding and enjoyable... we might not know exactly how to attain this.
We think that maybe more money will make us happier. Maybe more friends. Maybe a bigger house. Maybe the love of our lives.
But year after year, we might find more friends and realize that that is not the only secret to absolute happiness, we get bigger and bigger houses, we might find the love of our lives, etc... and happiness is never absolute. At least in my experience, and from what I have read and learned from others, its never final or absolute.
What makes us happy is fulfilment, and it usually keeps going while we are alive. It's a little bit like the motivation that keeps us going wanting to wake up every morning. The promise of getting better and better, the promise of having a more fulfilling life.
2020 Shook our world and our lives. One day we saw or heard the news and thought, is this a joke? is this a trailer of a new movie? One day we were at work, at home or doing whatever we do on a week day ( maybe you heard it over the weekend) and the following saturday we were put on a stay home order from the government.
Our daily routines as we knew them were "shut down". Businesses were closed, offices were closed, schools were closed. We ran to the grocery stores to buy as much toilet paper as we could, because... well, God knows how important is toilet paper to the survival of human species. And of course some other foods and survival kits like lysol and purell.
The way I lived it was, on a Wednesday I started hearing rumors about this COVID19 disease killing thousands of people in the other side of the world and meetings were being held. On Friday March 13, 2020 confirmation that we were closing for two weeks were given. We took whatever we thought might need to work from home for two weeks and were sent home.
Schools were closed for two weeks and because it was so close to spring break it might have seem as an extension of a much wanted vacation to many.
A lot of us think that we want more "vacations"; more time to do "nothing".
I have tried to do "nothing" before and it has almost never been as fun as I think.
I love the idea, the preparation before the time for doing nothing... the anticipation, and then the time comes and I enjoy my doing nothing maybe tops 1 hour, and after that I want to read, watch a movie, go out for a walk, go to the beach, etc.
So in reality, I do not want time to do "nothing" . At least in my very personal experience.. that is not what I want. What I want is the "freedom" of being able to choose what to do in the spur of the moment. I also have some ideas of the things that I think I might want to do in the day or time that I have assigned for "nothing".
But I believe this year might have forced some people to do "nothing" and without many options.
We were ordered to stay home. There were no businesses open, no cinemas, no restaurants, at the beginning, not even the beach or parks were open.
People were forced to stay home and others like me chose to really stay home. I did not know much about this COVID thing, and I was scared.
I just knew is a new virus that it's killing a lot of people and its propagating at the speed of light. Its airborne and if you are like me and remember movies like Armageddon, Contagion, Pandemic, Legend and and other apocalyptic and post apocalyptic movies, you might have stayed inside like we did and not even peep our noses out of the door.
My husband braved the first outing. He offered to go to the store and buy the food.
Covered himself in disposable gloves, took as much sanitizer possible, covered his face with a quirurgical mask, and out he went.
By the way... I need to mention that my dad has always been a bit "germophobic" ....I like to tease him.
Ever since I was little, if any of us would get sick, he would quarantine us, separate a set of plate, cup, silverwear to be used only for the sick one of the family and take full measurements. The sick person would be to remain in one area of the house where the others would not go, except my mother. She was always there she would hug us, kis us, take our food, medicine etc.
I remember my dad wearing masks and making us wear masks when we get sick and when he would travel on airplanes, so many of this measures were not new to me.
I knew how they work and how to implement them and feel very comfortable and familiar with it.
We also had plenty of masks because we live in a Wild fire prone area and have experience bad air quality in the past, so masks are always handy in our house.
Going back to the outing.... we bought enough food for two months that weekend ( or maybe 6 months... ? I have never bought so much food at once) . I sanitized my whole kitchen while the hubby was out, put absolutely everything away... cleared space and created three sanitizing stations.
The first one in the garage, were we would unload the bags with the items and spray sanitizing lysol to all of it, and let it sit there. Then the second station was in the patio, where I had buckets of soap water, clean water and towels. I would take one item at a time from the bag and wash it with soap and water and dry it. Then lay it in the sun for a few minutes depending on the item, some items like meats and poultry were just washed twice and put away. Some other items I risked washing them and drying them and placing them in the sun. Like carrots, potatoes etc.
The third station was in the sink, I would bring the items from being in the sun to a second wash with soap, then dry, then put away in our pantry or refrigerator.
As days passed, I started to find more creative ways of getting things done just like I was doing at the office. I even realized that I could be more efficient from home. I had different distractions, but not more distractions like I thought I would since I have a then 2 y.o.
Two weeks passed and we realized that this COVID 19 did not just die and disappear in two weeks.
We also realized that people do not all think the same way and that we are not all afraid of the same things.
I also realized that some people are so selfish that couldn't care less to get sick or get others sick.
I realized that some governments did not care for the people. Cruises were stranded, amidst the whole thing some companies were still holding flights, cruises and other mediums of transportation... when they knew this would help spread the virus in the world.
I also realized that there are so many good humans that were sharing food and even higher value currency, like toilet paper with those who did not get to buy any, because; yes. Stores were being emptied out, just like in the movies. I saw pictures and could not believe my eyes, even when my husband went out that one initial weekend he reported that shelfs were already empty from a lot of items.
I realized how loved and protected my family and I are. Just that year we signed up for a community garden plot for the very last plot available.
We had just started that project and could not have gotten to us at a better timing.
So weeks turned into months. Businesses adjusted, some reopened partially, some completely, some never closed, some people lost their jobs, other got so much work that seemed like a joke pulled out of a nightmare.
Some businesses died, others trived. Just like people.
We started to get a bit more relaxed, realized that there is more toilet paper in the world and lack of TP in the house is not what would kill us.
I learned the importance of knowing how to grow your own food.
I learned appreciation for so many things. Running clean water, gas stoves, electricity, doctors, nurses, hospitals, medicines, government, community, family, friends, nature.
2020 took so many things from us. It took people's lives, it took grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, took friends and neighbors, even sons and daughters.
2020 took our freedom, our joys, our businesses, our jobs, it took away our "normalcy".
But 2020 also brought a lot of things, it brought us consciousness, it awoke us. It gave us hope, unity, peace, unity, community and family. It gave us back some lost time. It gave us time to reflect, to introspect. It provided us with a mirror to be able to see ourselves so we can analyze who we are and an opportunity to change it if we wanted.
2020 shook our lives so everything we were carrying would fall to the ground and it gave us the opportunity to pick up what we really want to carry and the opportunity to leave behind what was not serving us.
I read in so many places that 2020 is not the year to ask for things, but to appreciate what we have, and while I love this thought we can even go as far to stretch it and think: 2020 is the year to cleanse ourselves, to transform ourselves.
2020 has been a blessing for me and my family, while we have had to sacrifice certain things, we have also gained so much.
I hope that 2021 brings fulfillment to all humans on earth. Happiness, harmony and peace and above all just LOVE.