As the end of 2020 approaches, it is so easy to focus on the year that 2020 wasn’t.
It wasn’t the year of large lavish weddings or blowout concerts. It wasn’t the year of the Summer Olympics or massive, festive holiday gatherings. It wasn’t a year for school functions or professional sports or once-in-a-lifetime family vacations. 2020 wreaked havoc on life as we know it.
As we look forward to 2021, though, to the hope and light that a new year generally ushers in, it is easier to look back on the what 2020 did give us. The perspective it did provide. The opportunities it presented to bring us together as people in an international pandemic.
Many found disappointment when cruises were canceled, and once-in-a-lifetime trips overseas had to be delayed. But these same disappointments allowed families and friends to get creative in travel plans. Many summer travelers turned away from typical hotel stays and instead, found excitement in a different form of travel. Travelers booked cabins and RVs, ditched the amusement parks for the great outdoors and made travel more about connecting with Mother Nature and travel companions and less about being indoors, rushing from activity to activity. Many shied away from airline travel, and instead filled up their gas tanks and hit the road. Taking the road less traveled allowed people to explore destinations that would otherwise go unseen, from national parks to roadside tourist stops. Travel wasn’t canceled in 2020, it was just thoughtfully reimagined and we couldn’t be happier that it was.
As we celebrate the holidays this year, it is easy to focus on what has been lost. It’s easy to mourn the large family Christmas you may be used to, shared with family near and far. It’s easy to be disappointed that holiday parades and festivals were canceled this year, or produced on a much smaller scale. 2020 took a lot of things away from us, and Christmas celebrations as so many of us have always known them are no exception.
But when we shift our focus to remember the reason for the season, when we shift our focus to remember all the opportunities that have been given to us despite the international pandemic, it is easier to be grateful. We’ve gotten more time with family and more time with nature. We’ve had time to reflect on what is truly important in our lives, and what was, perhaps, shifting our focus away from the things we truly deem important in our lives.
So here’s to 2021. Here’s to a new year with new hope and new beginnings. Here’s to letting the lessons 2020 taught us guide us into the future with our heads held high and our faith restored.