IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
As the first day of the last month of the year came around, I could not help but think about the year that’s been. And while I suppose I have done much more pondering this year than any other, I could not help but go through my Instagram account to find that Iast year really had so much more content than this year did. For a lot of reasons, but obviously, because most of this year found me at home. As I looked at my new year’s eve post last year, the caption I had written then could not have hit me harder than it did now after the year that has been. It read along the lines of: 2019, you have been amazing. 2020, I know you will be even greater – a year like no other. And boy has it been a year like no other.
To me, Charles Dickens saying could not hold more true to describe my year so far: “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.” 2020 was life changing to me because of the new chapter I have begun, but also because of the emphasis it placed on so many different aspects of my life. Lenses have shifted in terms of what I place importance on, what is prioritized these days, and my mindset on who and what matters. And then I take a step back and think about the many different points of views this year has placed in my mind. As a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, my contemplative mind took off and brought me to many schools of thought. But in the end, the common trope among it all was this: 2020 happened because it needed the world – and taught us – to slow down.
Undeniably, it has been, and will continue to be a somber holiday season for all of us around the world, whether or not we celebrate Christmas. Even in the most hustling and bustling of cities, people have adapted a slower pace of living with both work and school from home being largely the norm. Take New York, for example – life has been zapped out of Broadway without any shows being allowed to run. Those streets that were normally lit up 24/7 are now pitch dark, and streets that were normally crowded where one would have to squeeze his way through are now much slower-paced. To say that people are seemingly meeker and mild mannered than usual would be apt, and what was a ghost town a few months back, even in this seemingly emptier state is supposedly back to life and much more energized. I take the Big Apple as a symbol – a great reminder of the times. To me, it gives me the notion that the world is just in the process of healing and recovering, albeit at the expense of human activity. After all, we are probably the biggest exploiters of this planet – of Mother Earth and her natural resources. 2020 is a wake up call that even the city that has been dubbed as one that never sleeps, perhaps did, and needs a break from its normal grind. In as much as COVID-19 placed travel restrictions and built invisible walls between what used to be free border, it has also unified us in a way that reminds us that no one truly knows the answer to everything. That uncertainty will faze us when we least expect it to, and as human beings, we have the capability and the capacity to roll with the punches and go with the flow.
Everything happens for a reason. Of that I am sure. And as the last month of this year goes along, I am most certain that as much as most of us cannot wait for 2020 to be over, many of us will relish in the slow moments and the memories made this year – if even only those spent with immediate family, and memories made in pockets of time that can never be taken away from you. And in the years to come, we will look back at this year which has been, suffice to say, extra special – in so many ways.