Leaving 2020 behind: A hopeful outlook for 2021
By Emily McGee
There are over 8 billion people in this world. They live their lives, and you live yours.
We live our lives fully aware that when we go into grocery stores and libraries, we do not know everyone inside.
We don’t judge their lives, which are unknown to us, because they have their own struggles, so why do we judge our own?
During 2020, we were forced to really sit with ourselves and try to figure out what was important. Over the past year, our obsessions changed. We were completely blindsided; however, we forgot to appreciate some things.
In the past year — well, almost a year — we were pushed inside. Schools were online, and so were jobs if individuals could work remotely. 2020 was exhausting, but let me explain it through a few different perspectives.
“My senior year was ruined. The final months that I had with the people I had watched grow beside me were taken from me. I was not able to spend every day with my friends like I once had.” This is the perspective that most of us have known and felt, even if we were not seniors graduating in the midst of a pandemic.
“Now, I get to spend all day with my owner, instead of the few hours I get each night when they finally come home. I get to give them all my love, not to mention the number of walks we can go on.” This is our pets’ perspective, the loved ones that give us the most joy; yet, we seem to spend the least amount of time with them in our normal, busy world.
“My family gets to all be back together for a little while — all under the same roof — just like old times. We can watch movies, go hiking and even have a simple dinner together.” This is the perspective of our parents, the ones we often forget about when running from school to sports practice or extracurriculars.
Weirdly enough, I think we needed to slow down for a while to stop and see what we were taking for granted. We didn’t see ourselves when our family’s favorite show came on, the one that made us feel as though we were in it too, the one that glued us to our couch for that single hour every week, even during the commercials.
We didn’t see our smiles when we got to hug our best friends after not seeing them for months. We didn’t see ourselves sleeping peacefully after those beautiful summer days all snuggled up in bed — the kind of sleep where we fell asleep right as our heads hit the pillow because we knew we made the most of summer during a global pandemic.
We didn’t think about our families, how maybe that one call to check in helped them in ways they cannot
describe. We didn’t see ourselves doing the things we love; yet, just because we couldn’t see it, does not mean it was not there. However, the world is large, and all we have is time. In 2021, I hope we cherish all the things around us.
We have the pleasure to see sunsets: pinks, oranges or yellows, which in minutes, become purples, blues or even greens. We can see the night sky, the millions of stars or even the moon — the one thing that I think every single person in the world can feel connected by.
The opportunities are so endless that someone from a little town in upstate New York, like me, can walk the beaches of Normandy and see the Eiffel Tower illuminate the night sky. In life, sometimes people who start as strangers later become a second family. We can see the beauty in everything around us, so we must be gentle with ourselves and try to see it within.
There are days that need to happen to us. There are people we need to meet, places we need to go and emotions we need to feel.
We can’t let the bad or difficult things get the best of us. We have people in our lives who truly care for us, so much so that the little things in their daily lives remind them of us.
Let’s try not to worry too much about what others think and start to think about all the amazing things in our lives. I am aware that you can’t have the good without the bad. I have felt it firsthand — I think we all have. Experiencing the bad allows us to realize that we are human. It allows us to see the good in our lives and cherish it. I truly hope that because of 2020, we do just that.