So, here we are. The final quarter. The stretch run, and the path to the light, if you will.
We have less than three months left in this year that is certain to have its own chapter in the history books of tomorrow, if there is, you know, a future that includes history books. We’ve had challenging years in the past, mind you. We’re not soft. We don’t shrink from challenges.
But this 2020 — oh, this one’s a different animal, isn’t it? We’ve seen a Civil War in our past. We’ve watched the rights of others be diminished for the glory of the few. We’ve witnessed sickness, recession and civil unrest. Heck, we saw “Deadwood” get canceled on HBO by a narrow-minded...
But I digress.
My point was that we have seen things in our relatively-young existence as a nation, and we have risen up and persevered with a can-do spirit and general intestinal fortitude. What makes this year different, however, is all of these things have, or might be happening soon, this very year.
I’m an optimist, by nature. I truly believe in the premise that if you keep your head down, grind hard at the things you are supposed to be committed to and do the right thing, well, things work out more often than not. If you practice common courtesy and maybe go an extra inch by actually being kind to people... hey, good things tend to happen. Life is its own reward, right?
But there is just something about 2020 that appears to be breaking that process.
I read a funny article in Newsweek that shared a theory from a Twitter user on why 2020 has been so bad — it pinned the blame on Planters’ for terminating Mr. Peanut and replacing him with “Baby Nut.”
“I can’t name a single good thing that has happened since you were born,” Tweeted @goodbeanalt. “This is all your fault.”
And while criticizing 2020 has become the trendy thing to do this year, it’s not without merit if we take a step back and take a clear look at the year in review. For instance, per a listing found on medium.com:
• Australian brushfires that might have killed up to 500 million animals.
• The impeachment trial of a United States president.
• There are about 946 separate COVID-19 listings. You get the point.
• The International Monetary Fund released a statement suggesting that the world’s economy was expected to drop 3 percent, the worst contraction since the Great Depression.
• Oil prices absolutely crashed — good for my gas tank, but bad news for a big chunk of the world’s economy.
• A plane crash in Pakistan killed 97 people.
• Twitter accounts of powerful people and celebrities were hacked to promote a Bitcoin scam.
• A flooding of the Brahmaputra River killed 189 people and left 4 million homeless in India and Nepal.
• Harvey Weinstein. Jeffey Epstein. A plethora of other disgusting individuals.
We’ve also seen the passing of genuine icons, such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, basketball icon Kobe Bryant, actor Chadwick Boseman, Rep. John Lewis, Regis Philbin and, musicians very near and dear to my heart, Neil Peart and Eddie Van Halen.
It’s been a relentless barrage on our quarantined and vastly-limited lives by a business-destroying, life-taking, division-widening, racially-charged, politically-devastated year that would have been better off never taking over on Jan. 1. Want to take a stab at what happens in less than four weeks? You guessed it! A national election that — regardless how it turns out — carries the potential to sow so much discord in our relationships with one another that it literally takes generations to recover from in the future.
All of these things are true. But you know what else is?
It is, in fact, our path going forward. As human beings, we carry the power to navigate that path and to determine how we live our own lives, as well as how we treat others who are just trying to get by, as well. We can alter the course we’re on by simply altering the course we’re on.
Stay optimistic. Embrace humanity. Work hard. 2020 is a number, not an entity. A stinky number, but still a number.