If 2020 Was a Year to Forget, Let’s Make 2021 a Year to Remember

Before I begin writing about 2021 and all we have to look forward to, I must touch on 2020. After all, in order to truly move forward, one must look on their past and accept it as just that; the past. So, let’s go back in time, shall we?

It was March 2020, right around the beginning of the month actually. Word had begun to spread that a virus had originated in Wuhan, China and was beginning to spread worldwide. Literally. From Italy, to Russia, to Brazil, to Canada, to the United States. It hit just about every continent and country. The virus spread at an alarming rate and began killing people. A pandemic, we had.

Now, I won’t get into whether it was/is real or if it was created/not created. I will get into the affects of the coronavirus though.

Here in the United States, even more specifically Wisconsin (where I reside), it was brushed off at first as nothing more than a common cold. Or a new flu virus, at worst. Yes, the elderly and people in very poor health can acquire the flu/pneumonia and still die, but for the most part, we take our lumps and in a few days we’re back to being in good health.

Except, suddenly, people started to panic. The higher ups and powers that be began issuing lockdowns and requiring masks to be worn anywhere and everywhere. Businesses were soon told they HAD to shut down. A 9PM curfew was actually instituted in the city I was living in at the time (Milwaukee). Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disposable masks, cleaning products, perishable food items; you name it, and it was flying off the shelves. I’m wish I was joking.

In my day to day life, I’m a funeral director, and we had to limit funerals to 10 people maximum. We had to wear masks daily. We had to gown up (disposable gowns, gloves, goggles, masks) while handling a deceased person who we were told had contracted the coronavirus. These were the new rules being passed down from our Governor and our funeral home owner.

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For those of you who have attended funerals before, you know how personal they can be. From handshakes, to hugs, to kisses, to simple comfort of just being in close proximity with someone. You couldn’t do that any longer. And it breaks your heart even more. Not only did we have families who lost their loved one, which is hard enough to deal with, but now they were being told they couldn’t invite other family or friends to attend a funeral. Just brutal in every sense.

Eventually, things got a little better, the numbers declined, and people went about their day, but businesses were lost. Friends were lost. Relationships were lost. Life as we know it, was lost. And you either fell victim to the pandemic, and put your proverbial walls up or you said, “Enough is enough.” I became the latter.

I have become the person to say that, if you want me to wear a mask in your building or business, I absolutely will; it’s your place after all. I don’t believe in closing the doors of small businesses and then not helping them out. Once again, the richer get richer (and more help) while the poor get poorer.

I was lucky in the regard that my job, my career became even more busy because of this new virus. A terrible thing, death is, absolutely, but I still have a job to do. And that’s to get families through their loss. This is what I choose to do and will do for a very long time, God willing. I put myself at risk everyday, for more than a virus even. Their are other diseases a person may die from that are contractable, in which I still have to protect myself.

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In order to fully help others, I must protect myself and take care of myself first.

With that being said, though, we need to continue on living. We can’t hide. We can’t keep bowing down to the people that create division amongst the everyday worker and the high class. It will only divide us even more. Our freedoms are being taken away. Life, is being taken away.

Back to the future.

In 2021, don’t let 2020 be your guide. We already let a year slip. Once I started realizing what was going on and how I was missing out on everything because I bought into the media hype, I changed course. Was I going out to bars or hanging out with numerous people at a time? No. I was staying with my girlfriend but doing what we could outside. I was going on fishing trips or camping. Just drive and pitch a tent. It was great. I wasn’t going to let a virus stop me from doing what I loved to do.

I had no desire to go to bars or even restaurants any longer. Date nights, yes, I missed those. Going to the movies, I certainly missed that. Grocery shopping for three hours because of the long lines, good riddance. I wanted to start living again and not hide, wait to die.

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In some ways, this pandemic was a good thing (perspective, people). It allowed us to really look inside ourselves and our lives to understand what is important. Suddenly, we realized who we cared about. Who we needed to protect and to also make sure the time we did spend or look forward to in the future really meant something. Relationships matter. Our lives matter. My time matters.

This pandemic allowed me to focus on what I wanted to achieve out of life. Gone was all the bullshit time wasting, because they literally took it away from us. Here was more time. It was given to us. We had no choice at first. Now, you do have a choice. Use your time wisely. Use 2021 wisely. Don’t let 2021 become your 2020. Enough is enough. Stand up for yourself and your goals. Your dreams. Whatever it is you want out of life. We only get one. All it took was one year to show us that; more than any other year of our life, in fact.

It’s already mid January. There’s only 50 weeks left. What will you do with yours? Whatever you do, remember that it’s 2021, and not 2020. You do have a say. You don’t have to keep blaming the pandemic. You don’t have to keep making excuses. You can do whatever you want to do. I know I am.

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