Today is the last day of 2020. I know I am not the only one who is eager to see this year end.
Although I realized that very little will change in the next couple of weeks, at least there is hope that 2021 will bring us some respite from the coronavirus and a return to our favorite activities — even if they are modified a bit.
In the last weeks of this year, a vaccine against the coronavirus arrived and inoculations began. It will take some time until all those who wish to be vaccinated have received their doses, but with more people being able to get the vaccine, there is hope that fewer people will catch it, spread it around or perish from the virus.
There’s no denying that COVID-19 and its impact on the world was significant. It affected practically every aspect of our lives this past year. Obviously, because of this, 2020 will be a hard year to forget.
Whether it was the loss of a job, working from home, homeschooling your child, learning how to navigate the world of online shopping or staying away from family and friends for special occasions, each one of us was impacted in some way by efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
Favorite events and activities were canceled, as were vacations to faraway places. After being forced to close, many businesses could not reopen and shuttered their doors permanently.
I believe some of the changes made to help curb the spread of the virus will last well beyond this year, or the next one for that matter. Take the wearing of face masks and use of hand sanitizer, for instance.
I have always carried hand sanitizer with me, but I didn’t always remember to use it. It was something that I brought along in case I wasn’t able to wash my hands. (The Girl Scout in me likes to be prepared for practically any situation.)
Now, it has become a part of everyday life. I use it after opening or closing doors in public places, before I enter my car after a trip to the grocery store and whenever I touch something that I know has been touched by others. I have small bottles of hand sanitizer attached to the straps of my purses as well as in the console of my car.
While the requirement to wear a face mask to enter a public building may eventually be eliminated, I do believe that it will become more common to see them on people. In the past, they were primarily used only in sterile medical environments or by those with or prone to respiratory ailments. It seemed odd to see a person out on the street with one on.
There has been resistance to wearing them, much like seat belts when they were first introduced. Wearing or not wearing one has even become a political statement. Until data comes out to support how much protection the masks really provide — or don’t provide — folks will comply only as they are required to.
I prefer to err on the side of caution and am glad to put on a face mask, just as I am happy to fasten my seat belt every time I get in a moving vehicle. I know seat belts save lives. They saved the lives of me and my husband earlier this year when we were involved in a rollover accident in our truck.
Despite the challenges and negatives that came in 2020, it did have some positives, too. Just look at how creative we have become to keep in touch with others or mark achievements.
Technically challenged folks have learned to master the internet and online meetings. Drive-by parades have kept people from feeling isolated on their birthdays, graduations or when they receive academic accolades.
Being forced to stay at home has helped us forge stronger relationships with our loved ones and encouraged us to learn new skills. We are baking more, trying new recipes and then sharing them via pictures or with those quarantined with us. We are reading, knitting, gardening, painting and pursuing a variety of recreational activities.
We are also finding ways to help our friends and neighbors by dropping off care packages or sharing much sought-after necessities such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
Social distancing guidelines have guided us to the great outdoors where we are hiking, boating, camping and bike riding more than we have in the past, allowing us to take in the beauty of nature.
And we have learned to slow down, relax and appreciate the good things in our lives. But the one thing that I will never get used to is hearing about the number of loved ones lost to this horrible illness. That will leave a hole in my heart forever and I will always remember the heartbreak in 2020.
I wish each and every one of you a better 2021. Cheers!
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.