Hindsight is 2020

Lessons from an Eye-Opening Year

As I write, there are only hours left in 2020, hands down the most surreal year of many of our lives. Far from being a time of clear sight, the last year was chaotic, confused, and uncertain. Looking back from the last day of the year, I’m still struggling to find an objective perspective, but that won’t stop me trying to reflect.

2020 was an often divisive and sometimes outright combative year. Despite the fact that we all lived through the same major events (Covid, shut-downs, job loss and an unstable economy, protests, politics) we didn’t all experience these events in the same ways and most of us feel incredibly strongly about the opinions we’ve formed.

“…many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi, Return of the Jedi

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of opinions, however, I believe there are several universal lessons we learned in 2020, willingly or not. Or who knows, I could be blinded by my own frame of reference. Either way, here are the lessons that I will be taking with me into the New Year.

Adaptability – No matter where you live, no matter what you do, your life has changed this year. Our jobs have changed, our traditions have changed, even how we grocery shop is different. We had to get creative in our problem solving and learn to compromise even if we didn’t like it.

Patience – Some of us are better at this than others. I’ll admit it; I’ve practiced patience this year under duress and as a survival technique. Patience does not necessarily mean serenity or peace or contentedness. Sometimes, patience is just tolerance. It’s reluctant acceptance of things we can’t control. I couldn’t speed up the creation of a vaccine, I couldn’t make Election Day arrive any sooner; all I could control was my attitude towards waiting.

“Remember—your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn, The Phantom Menace

Self-Sufficiency – If you didn’t learn at least one new DIY skill this year or perfect one you already had, you didn’t live in the same 2020 as me. Maybe you already knew how to bake bread, sew face masks, and trim hair, but I bet you learned something new to cope with the frustration, boredom, and stress of being cooped up at home.

And finally, the most important lesson I’m taking away from 2020 is

Hope – Our problems will not instantly be solved in 2021. We’ll have new problems, too. We won’t even always agree on whether things are getting better or worse. But all we can’t change the past and we can’t see the future. All we can do is move forward, adapting and learning and patiently looking for opportunities for things we can do to make our future better.

“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you can see it you’ll never make it through the night.” –Leia Organa, The Last Jedi

Through continuing change, please remember your library is here for you, whether you need help finding something to read, assistance locating community resources, or you find yourself suddenly needing a Star Wars fix. Information and Reference staff are available at 715-839-5004 or reference@eauclaire.lib.wi.us


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