2020 was a year. But maybe there's a silver lining (or two) to this pandemic after all.
This has been a tough year on a lot of us—some more than others. It’s come with grief, terror, isolation, unrest, and any number of personal tragedies. Without minimizing that, 2020 has also been a year of change. Change is rarely 100 percent good or bad. Even when change is painful, it can often come with gifts.
There’s so much focus on what’s bad in the world that it can be difficult to remember what’s good. Let’s take a moment to focus on some pandemic silver linings.
Vaccines take an average of 12 years to develop and distribute. This global pandemic has pushed us to the limit of our capabilities in order to get a vaccine out on the market that works and is safe, and vaccinations are already being distributed. That’s great news for science and medicine in general, and no doubt there will be many lessons learned that can shorten the time necessary for other vaccines in the future.
[Read “COVID-19 and the Truth About Happiness” next.]
Learning and Sharing Knowledge
My obsessive research on COVID-19 and its risks really made me realize how little I know about the common colds and flus. We’ve learned so much about transmission for this particular disease, and we can apply that knowledge to the regular cold and flu season. I mean, I used to wash my hands regularly, but not the way I do now! And some of us may continue to use masks, especially when we are sick, like people do in many Asian countries. Learning about masks and hand hygiene might help us to avoid more common illnesses when the immediate threat of COVID is over. We don’t necessarily think about it that often, but the flu kills up to 61,000 people per year—better hygiene habits can literally save lives.
“Better hygiene habits can literally save lives.”
Working and Learning From Home
Many of us have discovered that working from home is effective and saves us a lot of time and money. Some of us may want to continue to work from home, which means fewer cars on the road, less time wasted in travel, and possibly even better productivity, depending on your situation. For some of us, having school online has meant being able to attend more classes and move through a degree faster.
Who Are Your Friends, Really?
Who have you kept in touch with when you haven’t been able to pop by the neighborhood pub? I’ve spent much more time with long-distance friends and family over Zoom than I normally would. When your friendships are distilled down to having conversations online rather than going to parties or out for a drink, you learn who you really want to spend time with and who fades into the background.
Major Life Changes
I know so many people who have changed something big about their lives during the pandemic. Dropping the daily grind and having a little more time on our hands without the pressure to socialize has allowed many of us to finally start that project we’ve been wanting to do for a while, finally quit that job, go back to school, call that financial (or spiritual) advisor, learn to bake bread, whatever it is.
Change is challenging, but it pretty much always comes with good parts and bad parts. As we adapt and move on, what learnings would we like to keep with us heading into this new calendar year? What are your 2020 silver linings?
Consider your own pandemic silver linings: “What Have YOU Learned From 2020?”