Happy New Year! Never in my many years traipsing around this planet have I uttered those words with more hopeful anticipation and disdainful hindsight. Man, 2020 was a year, wasn’t it? And we’re not out of the woods just yet. But surely there are reasons for optimism.
By the time you’re reading these words, the holiday season will be behind us. While large family gatherings were not possible, other than virtual Zoom turkey dinners, surely there were seasonally silver and gold linings. Sure, we’ve all been anxious about the Corona plague, but perhaps our lives over this hectic time were a bit simpler, and, dare I say it, restful? And while we all missed the family traditions that are so much a part of the season, I think we all deserved the additional downtime the pandemic demanded. I’m feeling refreshed and am getting ready for two major events looming in our very near future that will start the new off year in a positive way.
First of all, all hail the vaccine wizards! It’s an impressive feat to crack the viral code of COVID-19 and turn out, not one, but several safe and effective vaccines to guide us out of these troubled times. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen such a concerted, collaborative, and cooperative effort from scientists around the globe. Imagine what we might achieve if such coordinated international action were undertaken in other areas of need.
When my turn comes up to be jabbed, I’ll be there early with cookies for the brave and overworked jabber. But it’ll take a while before the world returns to normal, if it ever does. So, we’ll need to be vigilant and sustain the protocols for a while. While our daily new case count remains a concern, it at least feels like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and be confident that it’s the vaccines and not a train bearing down on us. As Donald Trump once said – who am I kidding, he said it hundreds of times at the very height of the pandemic – “we’re rounding the corner.” Of course, we weren’t when he said it so often two months ago, but perhaps we finally are.
Did you note my segue to the second major event in our very near future that brings hope, goodwill, optimism, and a whole bunch of pure, unadulterated relief? Yes, it’s true. On January 20th, Joseph Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States while much of the world exhales after four years. What remains to be seen is whether Donald Trump will leave the White House voluntarily or in handcuffs or perhaps a straitjacket. I’m actually only half-kidding given his bizarre claims that the election was “stolen.”
There is plenty of room on the ideological spectrum to debate policy in a thoughtful and reasonable tone. It was all of the chaos, crazy shenanigans, histrionics, golf, and downright dangerous behaviour that came along with Trump’s Presidency that was so hard for so many to endure for so long. Biden’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be a welcome tonic for a world weary from COVID anxiety and Trump’s reign of error.
I have big plans for 2021, including at some point actually wearing pants without an elastic waistband. While I don’t want to rush into anything radical, I do think it’s time to turn the page and close the book on a very trying year. Let’s grab hold of the reasons for hope and optimism and not let go. Vaccines for all. A slow but steady end to the pandemic. A fresh breeze blowing through Washington. The Leafs carefully back on the ice. An economy in recovery. Families and friends together again, responsibly. And all of us with a new spring in our step even if there are masks on our faces, at least for a while. A new year. A new beginning. It’s about time.