Where were you when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve this past year? I was in my kitchen washing dishes.
I went to a lovely dinner party earlier in the evening, and once the meal and dessert was finished and we had played a few rounds of games I found myself ready to leave.
I’ve never had much fondness for New Year’s celebrations, and I also really wanted to start the new year with a clean kitchen.
In hindsight, had I known how much time in 2020 I would have spent alone in my apartment, I may have stayed out a bit longer in order to soak in every minute of socialization I could have had. Then again, maybe I still would have felt the urge to get those dishes washed, since optimizing the comfort of home made quarantine life more bearable.
New Year’s Eve is sure to be one of the most anticipated evenings of the coming weeks, mainly because it symbolizes the year 2020 will be behind us. While it is tempting to imagine that all the troubles of 2020 will also be behind us, we know better than that.
The year 2020 has changed us—as a society and as individuals. And while some (even many) things will return to “normal” in due time, the events of this year will stand out in the course of our histories in a unique way.
In the coming weeks, there will be many “Year in Review” articles published around the world—we plan to share our favorites with you in our weekly May We Recommend newsletter (and please send along ones that catch your eye, too). As we considered how we wanted to remember this year at our publication, we settled on a more personal approach.
This week at Verily, we’re running a series we’re calling “Looking Ahead by Looking Back.” Each of our editors has written a personal essay giving a glimpse into her life this past year and reflecting on how our lives will have been changed by 2020. The essay topics include finding hope in uncertainty, listening to loneliness, celebrating everyday traditions, letting go of anticipation and expectations, and asking for help, as well as looking for ways to give more help.
Looking back at the difficult moments in our lives isn’t always pleasant—I don’t think my colleagues will mind me admitting that many of us struggled to write these essays, in part because we’re usually writing from scars, not wounds, and 2020 is still a bit of a wound. But writing is also a way to find meaning, especially when the events have been difficult. In so many ways, the essays you’ll read from us this week are more like pages out of our journals—they’re personal, vulnerable, and courageous, because they’re being shared with you.
And we’d like to invite you into the conversation. As you look forward to 2021, what from this past year has changed you? Leave us a reflection here and we may publish it at Verily on a later date.