2020 was a unique year. If a modern day 2019 Nostradamus had predicted a world-wide pandemic, a circus of a election in the United States, Civil Rights protests at levels not seen since the 1960s, double hurricanes, murder hornets and many of the other bizarre items that I’ve either forgotten or blocked out of my mind, it would have been a short career for that prognosticator.
Too many bizarre things converged in this year just gone by. At the beginning of the pandemic, way back on March 19th of 2020, I posted the image below written by Laura Kelly Fanucci.
You can find that post HERE. I expressed optimism that the time quarantined at home (then estimated to be a few months) might actually teach us to appreciate ourselves and each other.
As I sat down to ponder the outcome of 2020 for me personally, I became curious how others have handled the worldwide situation. Of course, some of the smartest, most insightful people I know are some of you, so I thought i would initiate a discussion of how the past year affected you across five dimensions, Self, Home, Work, Community and Society.
I’ll start by briefly sharing how I fared across these dimensions. Feel free to use the comments to share your results in one or more of them. I look forward to hearing from you.
I started out the COVID-19 period in March believing that the 19 represented how many pounds I might gain. I ate, snacked, noshed and consumed. Around June I went to the doctor and found out that my blood sugar had set an impressive milestone of being out of control, so I began to change things. I modified my eating and my medication regimen and improved slowly until, in August, I ended up in the hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis. This was more than a sufficient wake up call and I have since greatly changed/improved my lifestyle with diet and exercise. In the year of a pandemic, I didn’t want to check out with something as boring as diabetes. I believe these changes, some five months and 800 miles of bicycling later, are permanent.
For the past eight years, I have traveled an average of 45-50 weeks per year as a consultant. For the past 10 months, I have not traveled for work at all. For me, this was a welcome change. I love being at home and with my family. My hope is that they feel the same way about having me here. Working at home was a dream come true for me with a few exceptions. Instead of working at home, I considered referring to it as living at work. Having clients and team members across multiple time zones (at times up to 7) has resulted in longer work days and none of the solace of being alone in my thoughts when traveling. As a result, my world has revolved around work. In a time where clients are nervous about spending money on services, extra care is being taken to provide quality work to them at the expense of personal time. Personal time has consisted of sitting in a room other than my office.
I do believe that working at home can work and as companies move forward, striking more of a balance will have to be necessary if we are to function in this mode much longer.
I have, however, come to appreciate my family more. My wife has an incredible task keeping the house and her stay-at-home job going. I have tried to help where I can, but I’m a novice (still, after 10 months) at what needs to be done and how.
Being a traveler, most aspects of my local community escaped my attention. I was home on weekends and played piano for one 45-60 minute service at church and that was the extent of my involvement. With the switch to working at home, my hope was to get more involved. I haven’t done this as much as I had hoped, but I have seen the incredible generosity and empathy of those around me grow. Of course, I believe this was always there, I just wasn’t always around to see it.
Well, this is where results have been mixed. When you mix a pandemic with a highly contentious election (circus) and overflowing social unrest, you get varying results. Wearing masks to protect ourselves and each other has somehow, unbelievably, become political. States within the US have varied widely on how to handle restrictions to control COVID-19 with results that also vary widely.
If you use social media as a barometer of how society is doing, within the US, we are a nation that is deeply divided. The division is more than I have seen in my lifetime and I grew up during the 1960s. Political correctness and racism are both ramping up to unprecedented levels. Misinformation abounds. Dishonesty is overflowing while integrity seems to be absent. No matter your political leaning, future generations will wonder how we didn’t hang our heads in shame during this period. At a time that we should all be coming together to combat a common foe, we are politicizing the way deaths are counted, who has more knowledge and how serious the virus actually is. I have theories on how we arrived here, but I don’t want to bring politics into an intelligent discussion.
So, what about you? What is your take on these dimensions or other aspects of 2020? I look forward to your comments.