By Julia Bohnen
December 31, 2020
Today is the last day of the year. I am sitting here, writing, the rain pounding on my window panes with a calming and consistent beat. Reflecting on this year, I’m remembering the meaningful moments: ones that make me laugh, smile, and even cry when looking back. It seems that this year, unlike this steady and comfortable beat of the evening rain, we lived against the backdrop of mottled and haphazard rhythms.
Dark clouds and cold wind took over the sky. The sun didn’t want to show its face. Sometimes, it was hard to even tell it was raining, and only under the street lights lighting up the dark I could see that the sky was in fact, pouring down endlessly. There were moments where it was hard to tell how to feel in the midst of all the chaos. 2020 provided the world with a thunderstorm, a challenge that was completely, for lack of a better word, unprecedented. I couldn’t write anything about this year without using this word.
We had all different kinds of weather. Murder hornets surprised us all and TikTok blew up. Plans were put on hold when COVID-19 hit and people’s lives were drastically changed in the span of weeks. It was scary to watch the pandemic spread from far away to home so fast. A global pandemic led to toilet paper shortages and an overwhelming number of Zoom calls. Isolation was frustrating and lonely and our mental health took a beating. We were blessed with Hamilton lyrics to replace our own thoughts, inspired by Mulan and her admirable resilience, and whipped back and forth on the emotional roller coaster that is Clouds. Trump was defeated and new vice president Kamala Harris broke down barriers for women all over the globe.
This year provided the global community with freak conditions, which felt like a neverending list of obstacles. But there were considerable patches where the sunshine peeked out from the clouds onto the worldwide stage. Our global community highlighted the rising issue of climate change and, because of that newfound awareness, our oceans were remarkably cleaner. Carbon emissions fell by the largest amount ever recorded, and for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, there were more coal plants shut down than started up. The Venice Canal saw dolphins for the first time in years and we patched a part of our ozone layer.
People came together to help each other with food delivery services for seniors and online readings of children’s books to give parents much deserved breaks and kids an opportunity to connect, even through a screen. We re-learned the value of human connection and found a new appreciation for spending time with the ones we love. We made new friends and reconnected with old ones.
Even though there is no way to know what 2021 will bring, new vaccines are coming out, and hopefully, we will soon return to living life right-side-up. We’ve had our storms, hails, and frost. Rain and clouds did take over our skies. But now, the nights are getting shorter and days are getting longer. There will be a rainbow.