Has any good come out of 2020?
…actually, yes, in my case.
Though I must admit the beginning was shitty. In January I suddenly got into some family troubles that just knocked me out for the most of the year. I had to manage this pressure and, yep, it wasn’t easy.
Then in March I realized that our carefully planned July Alaska trip with 10 tourists from Russia had to be cancelled because of the Fake of the Year, the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, I still think, now even more, that there has been too much blind panic, irrational fear and overreaction from both the public and most of the world governments, Sweden excluded. This year could’ve gone very differently for all of us had we shown some wisdom and integrity in the beginning of it. Special thanks to world media that were more than happy to make this trouble look hundred times worse than it actually is, in my understanding of the situation.
In April I lost one of my small freelance jobs because it was connected with the tourism industry that died just around this time. It wasn’t such a big financial blow. It was more like: shit, things continue to go out of control in my life.
To make a long story short, psychologically the 2020 was probably the hardest one to me so far, not just because of coronavirus. At some point everything was bad and getting even worse…
But what’s on the sunny side?
It seems, though this year is technically not gone yet, that I managed to fix most of my problems and even made tangible progress starting from September.
Sure, some problems are still here but this is life. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Looks true in my case.
It looks like my personal matters are mostly sorted out and there’s sun shining through.
Yes, we lost Alaska tour as a project in 2020, and it was a blow. But I now work (among my other professional activities) in the Russian Himalayan club, an iconic tourist agency / adventure community here in Moscow, and this job is as exciting as can be. Now we’re trying to put the company back on track after the COVID-19 blows. The perspective is bright because we see the light at the end of the tunnel: with the global vaccination the tourism industry will be slowly rising from ashes during 2021. We’re already monitoring some client activities. So there’s life on Mars, yes.
There’re other good things going on now in my life, too.
But the most important thing that I brought out of 2020 is: never give up.
Troubles of any kind may come together and push you back and hit your spirits really hard. Even when everything looks gloomy, even if you think you’re in middle of the deep and dark forest with no hope to get out of it, keep on trying.
Don’t give up and just don’t crack under pressure. You’re doing your best, trying to be both creative and brave in your plans and actions. Probably daring to do what you’ve never done before.
Then you win.
Who Moved My Cheese?
So a couple of weeks back, Roger and me are down at his favorite pub. They have several decent sized flat-screens so he can see his favorite team lose in HD. We meet there perhaps twice a month and he has good wine and I order Miller Beer. I get Miller because it’s better than the local swill and cheaper than his good stuff.
So we’re talking about Covid and my thought was that the effect the virus has had is to compress what would have taken a full decade into several months. Consider the world after this is over:
- People will shop mostly online
- Many will work from home
- Millions of jobs will have vanished
- China will eclipse The United States in Asia & maybe the World
- Domestic politics in several countries comes to a final showdown: Democracy vs. Populism
- The young have few options
In short, the entire twenty-twenties will be compressed into maybe two years. The more you look, the more places you discover where this is true.
This is one of those be careful what you wish for things. I’m sure China would not wish to simply eclipse the United States but to crush those miserable bastards. If most of the planet starts to eat and buy local, this is of little use to the new Super Power. Ships produce lots of carbon pollution and if Europe produces most of what it consumes, China loses.
I will argue a great many issues will be sorted out in 2021, not 2031. So the question becomes is this positive? Most folks hate change with a passion. Look, if something as insignificant as Windows 10 moving your icons can bring out hordes with pitchforks, how do you think the masses will respond to actual change?
This is not just moving the cheese around on Isle 9, this may be real change.
- Will you own a car or call a self-driving, electric car
- Will you have a regular job (many millions will not)
- Do you live in a democracy or a populists autocracy that calls itself a democracy
- Will your child go to an actual college
I think change is a good thing, mostly. Look at change over the sweep of history, while it’s happening people get displaced and that’s bad. But in the end we come out better. We started out in caves and ended up with Roger’s team losing in glorious, 1280 HD at Sherman’s. While Roger may not be pleased, mostly this has been good.
The Plague, THE Black Death, lead directly to the fall of the Feudal Land Barons. The fact that you are reading this on a computer screen instead of … of … well, not being able to read at all is but one result.
The sweep of history is discovery on discovery and that’s good; like discovering penicillin good and 2020 will be no different. Thankfully it will not be remembered like the Plague but it will also have a long lasting, positive effect. Oh, and sorry about moving your cheese.
Has any good come out of 2020?
I think so, yes. But much more harm has entered the system at the same time.
For the first time in my generation’s lifetime, we’ve been subjected to all kinds of restrictions, constraints and regulations never before imposed. We are all no longer in complete control of our behaviours and lifestyles. You either go with it, because you know that’s the sensible thing to do, or you disobey or simply ignore it because you think the whole thing is a delusion, a most unnecessary burden for humanity to put up with, and, of course, you know best.
So, as we approach the festive season, we are once again no longer in command of the way we want to lead our lives. Someone else is making the rules and regulations, and the conditions under which we must now all live.
I come from, I admit, a very privileged position of not having to earn a living anymore, or being responsible for schooling the kids, and I have no worries about my income supply drying out. But if this damn Covid-19 has taught me anything, it’s not to worry about what I can’t do, and what I can’t have, and where I can’t go. Instead, Mrs B and I can celebrate with what we are endowed.
My generation is by far the luckiest in the past century. Decent pensions, plus a lovely home in a glorious climate. (We are so enjoying today’s torrential rain after nearly eight months of continuous sunshine, some of it exceedingly hot.) Many of us were able to retire relatively young and on a full pension based on final salary.
So what, that this is the very first time our total freedom has been somewhat infringed. Put it on the scales, and I know that our blessings will come way out on top.
We now also enjoy many more family get-togethers, even though we are thousands of kilometres apart, and can’t travel. Yes, we could have “Zoomed” them more often in the past, but we didn’t so much. Now we do. So do they. Even though both sides of our family have been close throughout, we all seem to care that little bit more. Marvellous. With modern technology, we can still “visit” our loved ones. As many times as we want to.
We now know we can work from home, so no more pesky building in our city centres for offices that, frankly, are redundant. Why on earth do we have to go to work in an office? It makes no sense. Another thing that Covid has taught us that we simply do not need. Hallelujah!
But there is a huge caveat. Can any of us look forward to 2021 with maybe a little more confidence?
Well, there’s finally been some good news on the vaccine front, where in various parts of the globe, the scientific community has worked absolute miracles to enable at least the most vulnerable to be inoculated this year. Another good to have come out of this horrible year.
But wait, what’s this about 40 per cent of the population refusing the vaccine when offered? How is that going to help eradicate Covid-19? Why is it that so many distrust science, believing instead the absolute garbage conspiracy theories they read in social media? I thought Americans were stupid enough to go out socialising at Thanksgiving, and look at that sad, sad country now. But it seems spreading the virus is not the domain of just Trump and his delusional supporters.
We, as a race, are going to have to be very, very careful next year, and into the following decade. We can’t just expect things to get back to normal, and carry on as before. That’s just what got us all into this mess in the first place.
The idea that we humans control our planet has been found to be totally preposterous. This pandemic was always going to happen at some time for all sorts of human-activity reasons. (No space to go over it all, but destroying natural habitats, intensive farming of animals and overpopulation are just for starters.)
And, unless we change, it will happen again, and again, and again. Will we change? You know what, the world seems so divided right now, more than I can remember in my 68 years, that I have to say, I haven’t got the slightest bit of confidence that enough of us will learn anything beneficial from the past 12 months. So despite my earlier optimism, maybe nothing good was ever going to come out of this year, or next year, or………..