Has there ever been a time when you looked forward to the new year more than in 2020? I admit wanting an end to what has been a most stressful and chaos filled year. As the year winds down, I ask myself, what did I learn from 2020? It seems an easy question to answer on the surface, however the answer says so much about who you are as a person. Here are my observations.
The ability to adapt to the unexpected took on greater meaning in 2020. As Covid 19 spread around the world, every aspect of our personal and professional lives was impacted. We decoupled from our normal routines, worked from home, wore masks, and avoided crowds. We needed to act with urgency, strength and compassion. Nothing was easy, nothing was quick and nothing was as it seemed - and we can choose to be resilient. .
2. Human connection is irreplaceable
On the surface this seems obvious, however if we ever wanted to study the effects of isolation, disruption, illness and stress of removing human contact from our lives, 2020 was the year. The rise in mental health related issues for some age groups is over 150%. While technology makes things tolerable, it cannot replace the meaningful and serendipitous human interactions of friends, family, and acquaintances.
As the pandemic ravaged the globe, we witnessed front line workers, EMT's, nurses, doctors, assisted care professionals and medical staff stand resolute and determined to help others regardless of risk. They continue to lead with compassion, caring and courage. Scientists, researchers and manufacturers created new ways to accelerate discovery of a vaccine with unprecedented urgency. I admired those who found meaningful ways to connect and watch over those who were suffering - engaging with strength of heart and not despair.
Every aspect of our lives has changed. Whether it be education, health care, work, shopping, commerce, travel, relationships, it has all changed. This also includes change itself. We were forced to change with urgency, reconsider how we manufacture product, deploy technology, communicate and meet the challenges all around us. The way we change has forever changed.
The pandemic clearly demonstrated society's strengths and weaknesses. Minority and underserved communities are and continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. While many have the means to work safely from home, there are many who cannot. Economic hardship forced decisions which placed disadvantaged communities at greater risk of catching Covid19. Inequality with respect to healthcare, education, working and living conditions result in higher rates of infection and deaths. We need a better plan to protect all in our society.
What did you learn in 2020?