30 Sep What Will You Remember Most From 2020?
By Hunter Laine
While chatting with a particularly thoughtful friend recently, I got this doozy of a question: “What do you think you’ll remember most from 2020?”. At first, I almost felt exasperated. “Um, well, the pandemic…?” It felt obvious, why even ask? But is that true? Or, I guess more completely, “Is that totally true?”
What will we remember most from this crazy, relentless, history-dense year? I mean really, if 2020 were a movie, we’d all walk out of the theater complaining that it was unrealistic; entirely too much plot. Globally, there’s a pandemic raging. Nationally, memories of impeachment are fading into the cacophony of endless political drama as we near a watershed election [UPDATE: So, that happened]. All that set to the backdrop of major civil unrest and passionate protests. Closer to home, we’ve weathered murder hornets, earthquakes, and continual, devastating wildfires. On an entirely personal note, I’ve lost important people, my sister got married, and I moved home from Prague. There is no escaping coronavirus, but there’s a lot going on for everyone within, and on the periphery of, COVID-19.
So as the year fades into memory, what will stand out most? Honestly, the pandemic, probably. But COVID is such an overarching presence that it is inexorably tied to all of the other things going on.
So, when I think ‘pandemic’, I can’t help but make the mental leap to everything else that has happened as a result. The insane year this has been politically with all of the discussions and disagreements about proper handling of the health crisis alongside the economy. How disconcerting it was to plan a wildfire evacuation while figuring out how I would maintain social distance. And how I wish I had been able to see those important people more before they passed without being afraid to bring the virus to them. How my sister’s wedding might not have been what we’d planned, but that it was beautiful and intimate in a way that it could not have been without all of the alterations the pandemic forced. And how I got to be with my family a lot more (sometimes too much). And how the stress and pressure the virus applied made me and so many of my friends stop relentlessly pretending that everything was fine and seek out real conversations and connections.
Clearly, it has been a mixed bag, but with this year, more than any other I can remember, everything that has happened has been linked. This pandemic that we will never forget is a thread through all of it.
So, “what will you remember most from 2020?” Well, COVID-19. And then in that same line of thought, all of the crazy, scary, devastating, stressful, thought-provoking, joyful, supportive, kind people and moments that are an intrinsic part of this pandemic experience.
We’re still in the thick of it. And 2020 still has three months [UPDATE: 15 days and counting!] left to surprise us. Maybe something else will happen that will completely overshadow even the coronavirus. (Don’t worry, as I write this, I am knocking on wood and spitting three times.) But barring some ridiculous third-act plotting, when thinking about 2020, I’ll follow that through-line of COVID-19 to some of the worst and, dare I say, best moments I’ve had so far.