The Year That Changed Everything
The first week of 2021 is almost behind us, and even though some might say it is off to a bumpy start, never has a New Year been ushered in with so much anticipation and cautious optimism.
If 2020 has made us realize just how much we take for granted. From things like pandemics, and our readiness to deal with health crisis, to how far we have or haven’t come in achieving racial equality; any sense of security we had has been shaken to the core.
The saying is, “hindsight is always 20/20", and with 2020 behind us, I’ve decided to begin this article with some perspective on the year gone by. I thought it might be cool to use some social media posts to help paint the picture, from a personal standpoint. Here goes:
I began the year as most do, filled with hope and plans. My post was simply hoping we would approach the New Year with a sense of clarity, understanding, and peace of mind.
Its not very different from what we all pretty much wish for at the beginning of every year. For some reason though, it was different this time, at least for me. I felt like we really needed that clarity more than in previous years. I couldn’t fathom then just how on target this feeling was.
January 26th-my wife and I were having an unusually relaxing Sunday afternoon. I had no clients to train, no particular chores to do, and it felt great! When I get a moment to myself to shut the world out and just reset, I take full advantage, which is why I don’t typically go on social media during these times. My wife, on the other hand enjoys checking social media periodically throughout the day, which can open you up to any number of things, good or bad. Imagine you’re out in a dark, cold blizzard, and you make it to the warmth and safety of your home. However, someone keeps opening the door, and letting in that freezing cold, disturbing your peace and warmth…that’s how I feel sometimes when comes to checking social media. My Sunday peace came to an end when my wife checked social media and shrieked. Neither one of us could believe what she had read on-line. It had not been confirmed yet, but retired Basketball Superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and several others had perished in a horrific helicopter crash. And just like that, at just 41 years of age, a legend was gone. He wouldn’t be the only one.
In a year in which we lost such greats as Little Richard, Carl Reiner, Sean Connery, Bill Withers, Alex Trebek and so many others, the entertainment world, in 2020 had more than its share of loss. Why deaths like these, of people we don't necessarily know personally, hit us all so hard can be explained in a post (above) shared by my wife.
The year was off to a rough beginning, there was no denying that, but as usual, I tried to remain positive. After all, I feel that as much as physical fitness is important, our mental health is equally as important. A “glass half full” type of mentality is key during rough times. Well, times were about to get a lot rougher. Covid-19 (Coronavirus) went from being “that virus that was crippling China, and then Italy, to a full scale pandemic. In February, March, April and May, many of us were on lockdown. Indoor dining, many retail stores, and gyms-all closed. Dealing with shortages of such staples as toilet tissue, as well as many folks having to work from home, had multitudes of people at the breaking point. The term “social distancing” and masks became a part of everyday life. And then there was more loss...loss of jobs, and even loss of lives. I wrote the article 4 Ways to Prepare for Life After Covid (shown in post above), because as the summer approached, there was an air of hope as things started to open up little by little.
We didn't do much, but going for leisurely walks helped my wife and me keep our sanity.
With the slow opening up of the country, you couldn’t help but be hopeful that just maybe things were getting to normal. That is until once again our faith was challenged with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and several others at the hands of police. This sparked protest across the world and bolstered the Black Lives Matter movement.
These events showed us just how divided we are as a nation. "Social distance" was the term with which we had become acquainted since the start of the pandemic, but when it came to the perspectives on race, and politics, apparently we were more socially distant than we realized.
As the fall season approached, there were lots of questions. Will there be a second wave of Coronavirus? Will there be a vaccine? Who will get the vaccine first? Perhaps the most asked questions, and sources of heated debates surrounded the upcoming election, and the coming school year. Many teachers feared going back into schools, not knowing if they would be protected from this virus, which at that point, had already claimed more than 150, 000 lives in the US alone. Many of them didn’t just fear for themselves, but for their students and family members. The debate continues as many schools open, close then re-open every time there is a reported case of Covid in the school. However, some districts across the country made the definitive decision to go fully remote this year.
And then there was the big election. I couldn’t stay silent anymore. I usually keep my political views close to the vest, but the cat was out of the bag when I changed my profile pic (shown above). In a year of chaos, I guess we shouldn’t have expected this election to be much different. The first debate was a disaster, with not just both candidates looking bad, but the country as well. In the end…well you know the outcome. Perhaps it was one of the things that gave a lot of us hope that 2021 will be better, for others…not so much.
With election behind us (kinda), the masses were looking forward to the holiday season. That is until the news reminded us daily that the number of people infected with the virus was going up again, worse than in the beginning of the year. Now most of the states were dealing with rising numbers, not just the major cities. This meant that Chanukah and Christmas celebrations would be extremely different this year. Many people celebrating with loved ones virtually, and some just too Covid fatigued to celebrate at all. A friend of mine said that they were “postponing Christmas until next year” in hopes that things will be better.
Good Riddance 2020 – Hello 2021!
And that brings me to the whole point of my ramblings, and the reason I choose optimistic as my word of the year. We make resolutions every year, hoping to make the necessary changes that will transform our lives. For some it means spending more quality time with family, donate more time and money to charity, and for many it means making healthier choices.
That’s why we pledge to eat healthier, exercise more, etc. (If that’s your goal, you might want to enter our contest to win free personal training either virtually or in person).
The main health challenge in 2021 though, is going to be to focus just as much on your mental and emotional health. Part of doing this means you will have to be that “glass half full” kind of person, and remain optimistic, not for just 2021, but for a better future in general. That’s why, just as my friend is looking forward to a better holiday season in 2021, I’m banking on a better year ahead. Why? Because I have no choice. There are those who’d say “it can’t much worse”. While I don’t necessarily agree with that, we all have to believe that it won’t (get worse), and do everything within our power to ensure that things get better. Good luck and God bless!