Happy New Year? - a blog, in 1000 Words or Less
“Happy New Year”, everyone.
I don’t think I’ve ever said those words with more sincerity or more nervousness. A happier and healthier 2021 seems…doubtful at this point. Covid is here to stay and we’re battling the second wave in exactly the same way we fought the first, which is to say, unsuccessfully because nothing about the fight has changed.
Wash your hands.
Wear a mask.
Aggressively lockdown, seemingly without regard to the incredible damage it does to the economy.
The second wave “solution” is identical to that which we endured six months ago. Why policy-makers and those tasked with making decisions think
the outcome will be different this time, baffles me.
We all know Einstein's definition of insanity, right?
Right now, the only change to the equation are the Covid vaccines. Unfortunately, as wonderful as the vaccines are, they won’t make a big impact until well into the new year. So, without adding any definitively new elements to the equation, I can’t see how the first half (at least) of 2021 will be significantly better than 2020. I know that sounds pessimistic. It’s not. It’s realistic. “Hoping” next year is better than this year is a nice indulgence. It’s also pointless. Hope is wishful thinking. Optimism is based on fact and before we become optimistic about the future, there has to be fact-based progress, something of which we’ve seen very little. Progress won’t happen until we stop acting defensively and begin adding aggressive new ideas to the equation, elements that will help fight the insanity:
Wide spread inoculation.
Massive rapid testing, the results of which are recognized beyond a single country’s borders.
Restrictions based on science rather than fear and ignorance.
And, more cerebrally:
A return to common sense and rational thought that comes from self-awareness and respect for others, NOT sensationalistic “information” obtained from CNN, Fox News, the CBC or Facebook.
Common sense: if only one door into and out of a facility is open, social distancing is impossible; ten gallons of gas has never fit into a five gallon can. (BC Ferries and local grocery stores should take note).
Rational thought: a person who calls in sick because of a headache does not need to isolate for fourteen days and obtain a negative Covid test in 2021, any more than he needed to in 2019. (Certain college campuses should take note).
I could be armchair quarterbacking. I don't know what's happening behind closed doors in Ottawa or Victoria. As an uneducated part of the masses, not privy to the details and unable to see the big picture, my opinion might be overly simplified. That's entirely possible. But, typically in a time of crisis, we hear a great deal of reassuring chatter from government. Politicians are adept at talking lots and and saying little and long as we don't spend too much time analyzing what they say, we're left with the perception of a government hard at work on our behalf. In the Covid case however, we aren't hearing any white noise designed to make us believe creative thought is taking place and solutions are just around the corner. Until I hear something new, I'm going to assume insanity rules the day and there is no reason for optimism.
In the meantime, it might be helpful to remember that as lousy as the year was in general, there were moments of joy. People still had babies, got married and celebrated anniversaries. Events such as these should be remembered with more pleasure and attention than typical because, although memories can’t introduce elements that will change the equation and forge reasons for optimism, they do prove good things still happen. At the very least, they counter full-out pessimism.
Let’s keep the bright moments in mind.
Let’s also remember that as bad as the year was, Canadians probably had an easier time than people in third world countries and places where day-to-day life is already a struggle.
We weren’t locked in our homes for 45 days, like in China.
Nobody was arrested for daring to promote an anti-lockdown protest, like in Australia.
Yes, we certainly could've had it worse, although saying that means acknowledging that we could have had it better too, and since the Covid “experience” varies from person to person, is specific to time and place and differs from one country to the next, I think the “us to them” comparison is largely irrelevant, other than to answer the question: “Going forward, how much more stress, uncertainty and anger can I put up with?”
A great deal more. It’s been done by others for longer under worse conditions. And, since there isn’t any choice but to put up with it, why ask the question in the first place? I’m not sure I’ll find the answer to that one.
January 1st represents a chance to begin anew for many people, a fresh start with a brand-new starting line. I’ve never bought into that sentiment. I’ve never seen any big life-altering changes occur the moment the clock ticked past midnight. Long term resolutions seldom take hold. That said, if there was ever a time for that kind of positive outlook, this is it. Perhaps though, knowing we can put up with a little bit more for a little bit longer, we could place the starting line down the road a couple of months, to a point after which the insanity ends? That way, twelve months from now, maybe we’ll be able to say, “Happy New Year,” with justifiable optimism instead of desperate hope.
Finally, in case you feel this post was overly gloomy, remember one of the brightest spots of the year has already happened: the solstice has come and gone which means summer is just around the corner. If that's not enough for you, a second bright spot is only a day away: 2020 is almost over!
Good things still happen.
PS: After I wrote this post, I saw the following article about travelling and rapid testing. Another bright spot?
I have a special "thank you" planned for those of you who've subscribed to the blog! Look for details next time, on January 13th.