Past Imperfect: 5 Reasons 2020 Wasn’t All Bad

Although plenty of folks are eager to pitch this year into the ash heap, nothing magical is going to happen on January first.  And that doesn’t mean I’m predicting 2021 will be a lousy year, but you can’t expect it to be entirely rosy.  Yet despite all the challenges of 2020, this rotation around the sun wasn’t entirely bad.

Yeah, I know, I need to back up that statement….

On a personal note, 2020 began with the funeral and burial of my mom.  Toward the end of January I was already thinking about how the year was beginning so rough, it could only get better from here.

Yeah, I know, these rank as famous last words….

Yet despite the landing of COVID-19 and the other problems it seemed to exacerbate, some good did arise from all this turmoil.  That’s life – you get good with the bad and vice versa.  Let’s not overlook these nuggets of sunshine:

5: People rediscovered preparedness.

By the time March rolled around, there was a saying floating about that “Everybody is a prepper now.”  Even the panic buyers who went about it all wrong were part of the throng of people who realized they needed to be able to take care of themselves.  Self-sufficiency and independence are good things when you know who you can trust (see #1).

4: People rediscovered food basics.

Even though there was plenty of bread still on the shelves, yeast became hard to find.  Whether it was because folks figured “I’m stuck at home – might as well bake” or they wanted to be able to bake should the bread disappear, it was one example of how home cooking gained in popularity.

But you can take that a step further.  Seeds went flying off the shelves as more people planted gardens.  And I can personally vouch that hatcheries sold chicks as fast they cracked out of their shells.  The work and care involved in such endeavors get folks to better understand that stores are just the middleman.  Food comes from creation, and that leads to our next category.

3: People rediscovered the outdoors.

Although binge-watching programs and unconditional surrender to video games initially took hold, more people began venturing outdoors as the weather improved.  Hiking and fishing and hunting get folks in touch with nature in a way that helps ground them to reality.  And being outside more helps you absorb that vitamin D which bolsters your immune system.

2: People rediscovered their families.

Stories of abuse will always be around, but there are many reports of parents learning new things about their kids, and spouses learning new appreciation for each other (and their kids’ teachers!).  Our families benefited from a little more family time instead of running off in a dozen directions at once.

1: People rediscovered their faith.

Sadly, the rates of depression and suicide have shot up, but there is one group of people who actually reported their emotional health improved over the past year.  Those who regularly attended church services benefited from both social and divine contact.  And for those who were unable to attend in person, worshipping at home has gained in popularity.

So there you have it.  There’s a saying that life imitates art, and in the realm of writing, one can see some truth in that.  The best way to build up characters in a story is subjecting them to hard times.  And although we may not like it, it’s also true hard times help build character.

Yeah, I know, 2020 was an interesting year … but what a story it will be to tell your grandchildren….