Bad Year, Better People

2020 was hard. It was, to put it simply, not a great year for any of us. COVID deserves a lot of the blame, of course, but then there were also murder hornets, police brutality, systematic racism, Australian wildfires (which happened so early on that most of us have probably forgotten about them entirely), and, for a great number of people, Donald Trump––the list is overwhelming. It’s very easy to get lost in the negatives.

What’s more, the pandemic has stripped society of its illusions and has highlighted in stark outline humanity’s shortcomings. Injustices of which none of us have been fully aware have been brought to light, the increasing disparity between rich and poor standing most notably among them. Contrary to much of what many have claimed, COVID has certainly not revealed the best part of ourselves, and what idolized celebrities and affluent business magnates are saying about how “we’re all in this together” is pure drivel.

Yet––and I do not know how––much of humanity has managed to stay afloat. They have used this time, not to sink into despair and while their time away meaninglessly, but to reflect and rebuild that which they have lost. Times were difficult for them, too, as it goes without saying, but they chose to see the silver lining of every cloud. In a poll commissioned by Coravin and conducted by OnePoll, two-thirds of the 2,000 Americans surveyed attested that “the troubles of 2020 have made them a better person.” Here are further statistics:

  • 55% admitted to being embarrassed by what they prioritized before the pandemic
  • 46% want to spend more quality time with loved ones
  • 41% want to not take hugs for granted
  • 38% want to create more meaningful personal relationships
  • 35% have found new hobbies they want to continue pursuing even after the pandemic

It seems that as bleak and morbid as these times may seem, they have provided us with an invaluable opportunity to step back, take a deep breath, and––in a sense––start over. Too often we find ourselves too busy or too caught up in things to even consider what we’re busy for.

2020 was awful––that much is undeniable. But, as it turns out, in some ways it was beneficial. The question instead, then, is what we have done to take advantage of it.

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