Hindsight is 2020
Updated: Apr 6
Hindsight is 2020. How often did I use this phrase? Every time I wanted to analyse past actions, or decisions I or others made. However, in 2021 this expression seems to have taken a whole different meaning and a life of its own. Of course, you guessed, because we have just survived the world’s first global pandemic since 1918.
From the moment the first cases showed up until the moment the WHO declared a global pandemic and beyond, the world leaders were full of indecisions, secrecy, incredulity, and pure refusal to accept what was right in front of their eyes. From a country trying to gag its doctors to not divulge the problem, to countries that did not learn from the example of others. From Presidents who refused to accept that the virus was a problem despite the large death toll to Prime ministers who shook hands with critically ill patients (knowing they had the virus) and later were themselves admitted to hospital. Hindsight of the year 2020 really is 2020.
But 2020 was not only about the pandemic, though this did dominate the headlines worldwide – who didn’t check daily infection and death counts or sat down for the head of state announcements?
2020 highlighted structural inequalities around the world starting with George Floyd’s killing, massive redundancies, and furloughs worldwide, lockdowns, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The race for a treatment or vaccine is proving to be political and potentially money driven; some of the world’s top billionaires more so than anyone else fully benefited from the pandemic – increasing their wealth to previously unseen levels. And these are just the events we remember. 2020 felt like a decade. Below are some of the other events of last year that you might’ve forgotten, that if not for the pandemic would’ve been striking in of themselves:
If you are anything like me, you probably didn’t recall some of the above happened only last year.
Following a year where the world slowed down, industry stopped, and the planet breathed due to major human inactivity I think we owe it to ourselves to stop and reflect on what we learned.
Where so many people saw the year as waste, I saw it as an opportunity (ok, so I am an introvert and lockdown gave me the excuse to not see people!..) to learn about myself, to take a step back and analyse my life. To pursue goals, to reach out to far away friends, to really appreciate my family and above all to accept myself and with that know what I no longer want.
I do not want to be in the same haze of a busy life I was before, the long commutes, the running from place to place and never stopping to really appreciate the people around me or the beautiful and challenging moments that define my life.
I realised my family and friends are the most important aspects of my life and I understand I have to treasure every moment. I realised that I have to make a larger effort to detach myself from social media (not condemning it, social media was fundamental this year for social protest, business expansion, exposure to different views, etc., but my use of it has to be measured) and actually live real life. I also realised what is not so important: shopping, going out to the latest hyped restaurant or bar, running across town to meet with a guy that I am so desperate to like for fear of being alone when in reality I know in advance it would never work. Ok, I am still working on that one... I mean it was a year not a miracle!
As 2021 rapidly moves forward, I would like to challenge you to look back and let 2020 provide you with some hindsight.
As the vaccines are being rolled out and the world will soon (hopefully) move out of a state of emergency and as things slowly go back to normal, look back and see what about 2020 did you enjoy? What did you learn? What would you like to keep? And most importantly, did 2020 make you realise what you really appreciate from life? Once you do that analysis, you can take steps to implement those in your normal life. I also believe you can take the lesson forward and ensure that should another year like last year (or even this year) happen again, you are prepared, you are grateful and you are joyful.
Let us not forget the lessons we learned, those we lost and those who struggled the most either with health, mental health, wealth issues or those who had nowhere to escape to and no one to help. But despite all the tragedy, 2020 was a year where we also saw the best of humanity, people coming together for causes, the planet thriving for a bit, countries coming together to tackle a common foe. I know I am talking from a privileged lens, but let us not lose that sense of togetherness, those moments singing and applauding in balconies or talking to strangers as for once we realised we are all in the same storm (though I am very aware not in the same boat). For those are the moments that make us human.