Farewell to 2020: a year for the archives

TORONTO – Exciting, joyful, refreshing – all adjectives used to describe the potential of new beginnings. Think back to December 31, 2019, what were your sentiments at the year’s end? For many, it may have felt no different than any other day of the year.

Turn the page and what started as a new year and a new decade full of promise and possibilities soon took on another dimension. This has been a year of social separation, political division and racial tension all around the world.

The invasion of Covid-19 into our lives and our communities has not helped. It has prompted us to change some of our usual habits, the way we work and the way we interact with each other.

Reflecting back on what was 2020, a few different adjectives come to mind – chaotic, exhausting and depressing. To mitigate the spread of the virus, widespread lockdowns and school closures have affected millions of people. Frontline workers work tirelessly throughout the pandemic as infections surge, the death toll rises and we lose our loved ones to this lethal virus.

Yet, not all is lost in what some may describe as a “year from hell”. Breakthroughs in medicine with the potential lifesaving Covid- 19 vaccines bring hope at the end of a challenging year.

Yes, this year has presented a great deal of challenges. Yet, it has opened up opportunities for people to learn new talents, explore new career paths and discover innovative ways to function as a society. Businesses have shifted gears and adapted to new ways of working which have led to innovation and invention.

It has been a transformative year. For some, it meant transforming a part of the home into a home office space. For others it meant transforming the backyard into a space to test out their gardening skills. It provided a chance for people to rediscover old hobbies and appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

The restrictions imposed on large social gatherings prompted changes in the way we celebrate special occasions. Live events transformed into virtual ones so that we could still stay connected with the community and feel a sense of togetherness. From “Zoom” parties to digital dinners and drive-by celebrations, we are reminded how much our family and friends mean to us and value the time spent together, albeit socially distanced.

People are creative and resilient. This year has provided countless opportunities to demonstrate those traits while helping others in need including our most vulnerable members of society.

So, as the sun sets on the last day in 2020 and we bid farewell to the year, I am thankful for the blessings in my life and have a greater sense of gratitude for the things I used to take for granted. I am hopeful that the new year will bring a renewed sense of unity, harmony and peace to all.

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