Updated: Feb 10
With the end of the year comes a long, deep sigh of relief… for some.
At the outset, 2020 was characterized as one of clarity—a year connoted with perfect visual acuity. Sentiment was positive and hopeful as many were looking to build upon ongoing stability. Unfortunately, we would soon realize that the path ahead was tragic in ways beyond our imagination.
The abrupt onset of a global pandemic quickly shattered our expectations. With 1.75 million deaths worldwide, the virus effectively replaced any resolutions involving personal growth or actualization with the prioritization of bare necessities; hence a repositioning within Maslow’s hierarchy en masse. Subsequently, the pandemic and the introduction of life-saving social restrictions precipitated a vicious economic collapse, throwing millions of Americans into poverty. Tensions would rise throughout the summer when numerous protests, the majority of which were peaceful, brought mainstream awareness to the prevalence of systemic racism. All the while, the need for quarantine and social isolation produced a surge in the incidence of opioid abuse, overdose, and suicide. In sum, the year was far from what we hoped or predicted it to be.
Typically, the end of December is abound with social media posts sharing the personal accomplishments and milestones achieved throughout the previous twelve months. Instead, be mindful and sensitive to those who may have faced more than their fair share of misfortune this past year, knowing that millions of Americans have lost a loved one, a job, or both. I question the need to individually boast when the collective continues to struggle; for many, a new year does not simply erase illness, grief, depression, unemployment, poverty, or addiction.
As we approach 2021, let us all show a deeper appreciation for one another—particularly our clinicians, first responders, public servants, teachers, and other essential workers who have continued to sacrifice for the greater good. The previous year has exposed the fragility of society, and through the calamity and chaos we should realize that health, family, and community are paramount. Thus, in the most unexpected of ways, the tragedies of 2020 have clarified what we truly deem to be important.
Keep the faith as we enter 2021.