Happy New Year to all. And good riddance to 2020. I thought maybe we should hold a goodbye party just to make sure it was actually over.
No party needed. 2020 is really over. But is it time to forget about the year that never seemed to end? Sorry, it’s not. As George Santayana said in The Life of Reason: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I don’t know about you, but I do not want to repeat one single day, one single minute nor one single second of the past year. However, I do think we need to reflect upon what we learned last year. If you think about it, we all learned a lot. Of course, we learned things from our own perspectives. So, we all learned something different. However, from talking to friends, family and colleagues, I was able to pull together a list of shared lessons from our 2020 experiences.
First thing was that nothing was certain, except for change. I think we saw that every day. We waited with baited breath as things changed not only daily but sometimes hourly. We learned how to react to all this change. We learned to pivot, reimagine, reinvent and react to whatever came our way. We certainly became an agile bunch.
We learned the real definition of a hero. Turns out heroes aren’t sports figures, movie stars or recording artists. They’re our first responders, health care workers, workers at our grocery stores, delivery people, food service workers: the people who risk their lives every day so that our lives can go on.
I believe we learned how not to sweat the small stuff. As the bigger issues were swirling around our heads, we let go of the smaller issues that used to drive us crazy. The guy behind you is tailgating. So what? That lady in the grocery store cut in line. You’ve got time to wait a few minutes. You burned dinner again — oh wait — that’s probably just me.
We took a leap of faith. We did stuff we hadn’t tried before, things we were maybe afraid to do. But last year, we took that leap. What was the worst that could happen? When these new ideas worked, great. When they didn’t, we just decided not to try them again. ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ became the mantra.
And we became better acquainted with technology. At the chamber, we launched a new, more interactive website, and we took more care with the quality and frequency of our Facebook posts. Zoom became our new friend — or frenemy — depending upon how many times you had to say: “We can’t hear you — You’re still muted.” And it hasn’t ended. Wait until you have to master Blitzr.
But above all, we have discovered there is light at the end of the tunnel, maybe not a huge spotlight, maybe just a pinpoint of light, but light nonetheless. So, let’s step into 2021 with purpose, confidence and determination. We survived 2020. Just think what we can do this year. We’ve got it covered! Happy 2021.
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the South Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email email@example.com.