Keep your chin up

2020 is over. There’s no need to relive any of it. But lately I’ve been looking back to the beginning of the year, and the same memory keeps coming to mind: It was a Saturday afternoon, in January, and I was driving to Walmart, listening to NPR. There was an update on the situation in Iran, where tensions were high after a U.S. military strike had targeted a high-ranking Iranian official. According to the newscaster, America was “at the brink of war”. A few minutes later the show returned to its previous story: the unprecedented brushfires raging out of control in Australia and causing so much destruction. By the time I pulled into the Walmart parking lot I had a pit in my stomach, and I said to myself, “Wow, so far this has been a terrible year”.

And that was only January.

We all know what happened next. The following 11 months were like a row of dominoes – one forehead-smacking crisis tumbling into the next. The psychological toll has been enormous; for many the effects have been devastating and fatal. But the purpose of this piece is keeping your chin up, so let’s for a moment focus on the positive and remember that we can and will get through this. As proof, or perhaps as a reminder that there is good out there, here are some shining examples of humanity from 2020.

Frontline Workers

From hospitals to grocery stores, these folks put on masks and brave a global nemesis to keep us safe and functioning. They are the Marvel Universe of 2020.

Social Awareness

A series of tragedies prompted a wave of social unrest and a new level of awareness that will hopefully bring us closer to a more just and inclusive world.

A Vaccine

Imagine what it felt like coming home from work after figuring that out.

Cardboard Fans

There’s something delightfully bizarre about seeing Tony Soprano, James Dean and Lady Gaga sitting together at a Yankee game.

“The Queen’s Gambit”

A brilliant show about redemption, it taught us two valuable lessons: 1) we can overcome our personal struggles, and 2) chess is cool.

The Environment Got a Breather

Sure, it was unintentional, since nobody was driving or flying. But we’ll take it.

Kamala Harris

History was made. Regardless of where you stand politically, this is a good thing.

Good Neighbors

They’re out there, in every community, checking in on those with less resources and helping out however they can, without fanfare.

Rescue Animals

Empty shelters across the country…waiting lists to adopt… 2020 was the year cats and dogs came to our rescue.

Drive-by Parties

What do you do when you can’t have a graduation party or baby shower in the house? You throw a personal parade with an inflatable unicorn in the back of a Toyota Tacoma. That’s what.

MacKenzie Scott

While congress fumbled around with a stimulus bill, she donated 4.2 billion dollars to various charities over the last 4 months alone.

Pixar’s “Soul”

The light at the end of the tunnel that was 2020, this heartwarming and life-affirming tale made me feel good about being human.

These are just a few highlights. The list could go on, from the millions of small acts of daily kindness to moments of epic triumph. They are reminders that even in the darkest times, we have the power to harness that uniquely human trait known as character. That when it counts, we can rise above. Stand together. Laugh. Create wonderful art. Help strangers. Heal one another. This spirit is a birthright. It lives in each one of us, and it flourishes when the chips are down and the outlook is bleak. So keep on moving forward, keep your heart full and keep your chin up, because you have what it takes, and we’re counting on you.