2020: Was It Clear Enough for You?

The Year 2020 gave us a major lesson that we must not forget as we move into 2021.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Living without knowing the past is like walking in the dark. ~The Immortal Warrior

In 2019 as we embarked upon a new year, everyone was talking about their “2020 vision” and how they had a clear view moving forward into 2020. But in life the only certainty is uncertainty, and 2020 brought with it a ton of uncertainty: countries on fire, the covid-19 pandemic that led to the loss of millions of lives, and the never-ending pandemic of racism (call it covid-1619). As we embark upon 2021, so many people are ready to dump 2020 in the garbage with hashtags like #2020isOverParty and #2020isCancelled. We fail to understand that a new year does not guarantee different outcomes unless we have learned the lessons and make some significant changes because of those lessons. Have we done that as a society?

So many of us are ready to move past 2020 and into 2021, but how many of us have said goodbye to one year with new year’s resolutions to be better only to fall back into our old habits? The truth is that the past will always be the present until you embrace the past, learn from it, and make genuine efforts to change. Until we make those genuine efforts we can never escape our past; our yesterday will always be today, regardless of the numerical year.

Here in the United States, the year 2020 was a clear sign that if we do not come together, everything is going to fall apart. Many people were worried about a civil war during the 2020 election cycle, and fortunately, it did not come to pass but there is a growing concern that the divides between us based on political ideology, skin color, religion, gender, etcetera are becoming so large that eventually we will not be able to bridge the gaps. Either we come together as brothers and sisters or we will perish together as fools. It is an old message that rings truer now more than ever. It is time for us to not let our identities define us but rather let those identities move us toward a future where identity does not equal oppression and everyone has the opportunity to rise. We can only do that by working together.

In other nations where laws and policies are passed for the good of the people, there is less of a wealth gap. In other nations where they banded together as one to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, practicing social distancing and wearing masks, they have started to open back up and economies are thriving again. In nations where the government provided supplemental incomes to businesses to protect jobs during the pandemic, those nations have survived and the people are pulling through while 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty. Here in the United States for some reason, we continue to hold on to the myth of rugged individualism. Human beings would have never gotten to the point where they are today without working collectively together. No great feat that has moved our society forward has been accomplished alone. We were able to survive the forces of nature by banding together to build homes, towns, and cities. Technologies new and old continue to assist us in our fight against the elements and better connect us. We have “conquered” nature but we have yet to conquer ourselves, our selfish impulses, and tribalism. These selfish desires and greed are preventing us from recognizing that we could go even further if we would just go together.

The truth is that if one person could change the world instantly by themselves it would have already been done. It takes all of us working collectively to shape the world into the place that it could be. In this modern age, we don’t have to be barbaric fighting over land, language, religion, and power like the people of yesteryears. We can create a world where everyone has the right to food, clothes, shelter, health, and the ability to self-actualize, finding their talents and passions and giving them to the world, transcending beyond self to serve the greater good. Instead of doing this, we would rather use our supercomputer minds to focus on what we wear, what is presently streaming online, and following celebrities. We are so focused on money, material items, fitting in, and getting a job that we have forgotten what makes humanity beautiful, and that is each of us contributing in our own way to shape the world into the place that it can and should be. We fail to see that we can raise our vibrations and transcend to a higher level of collectivism that can still have the extras in life. Life is not a zero-sum game; at this time in humanity with all the technology, resources, wealth, and centuries of life lessons from the past, we can all win. The thing that separates humankind from beasts is not only free will but our capacity to work together to build something for the greater good of society.

Many people are celebrating that at least 2020 ended with a changing of the presidential guard, but a new president does not guarantee positive change or progress. You can change the leadership but it doesn’t change the system because politicians are just temporary, hired help. As public servants they work for us, the people. They are our employees, our servants. So as employers we must have a clear, united directive and expectation on what we want from our hired help so they can execute their duties properly. This is how we can guarantee change.

They say we are who we are but we don’t have to be. ~Fall Out Boy

There is a quote falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln that says, “the best way to predict the future is to create it”. Regardless of who said it, they are right: no one can predict the future but we can invent it. We invent the future every day through our choices and our actions. Now is the time to make the choice of acting on behalf of all not solely for self. There are many people who are calling for us to “get back to normal”. I don’t know about you, but I believe for most of the world, normal was not that great. Sometimes we must rebel for the good of ourselves and the world and now is the time to rebel against normalcy. Now in the midst of a pandemic, coupled with ongoing poverty and racism, is the time for us to be daring. We can be daring by throwing away our old norms and instead choose to carve a new and different path for us as an American society. Research shows that those who work toward a goal as part of a team are more successful than those who go it alone. Now as we embark upon a new year is the time for us to come together. We can use 2021 as the spark to find meaning through the sufferings of 2020.

So set those resolutions and make those goals, but recognize that if your resolutions and goals are all about you then you will not get very far. If there is one lesson to be learned from this pandemic it is that we are all interconnected. What happens in Wuhan, China today could be knocking at your door tomorrow. Include in your 2021 resolutions to work better with others for the greater good of society. It is time to throw off the old ways and evolve towards a new collective way of thinking. The only limit to us creating a better world is our imaginations and the willingness to get up off our butts and make it happen. Let’s come together in 2021 and make it better for everyone.

P.S. Wear a damn mask, limit your outings, and practice social distancing.



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Joshua V. Barr

Joshua V. Barr

Emmy Award Winner, Top 5 Local Government Influencer, Visionary Disruptor of the Status Quo, Vegan Foodie.