Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash

There’s an animated series I watch on YouTube called peopleWatching. In the first episode of the second season the recurring characters talk about the dreaded year that was 2017.

Partisanship, tribalism, inequality en masse, personal issues and personal ignorance characterized the talking points of the characters. But they all said what we the audience had been thinking.

And while their reflections triggered a new perspective which they believed would help them through 2018 and beyond, right now in 2020, I am somewhat pessimistic.

I’m pessimistic because I keep hearing people talk about how bad 2020 is and how they can’t wait for 2021.

Throughout the episode, the characters mentioned one societal grievance after another that stemmed from an issue dating back decades.

All the issues I listed above have a history that has rippled throughout the planet for eons. Our problems are not new but merely in a different format for a new generation.

The printing press and the internet both provide access to information and unfortunately misinformation. Politicians are hired to represent the people and do everything but. The wealthy lose a fraction of their fortune, so the poor have to lose their life savings. The generational trauma of a people continues to wreak havoc in their lives and in the lives of others.

And yet, I can hear the echo of my parents and grandparents as they say to themselves, “I can’t wait until next year when all this is over.”

The fact of the matter is, just because the Earth has revolved around the sun, does not wipe the slate clean. Just because January is around the corner does not eliminate the problems of yesterday or yesteryear.

I was guilty of this kind of thinking too. I fell into the trap of having a rough year and then saying to myself that next year would be better. I did this from 2015 to 2018.

People say things like, “new year, new me” and begin their New Year resolutions. Yet, they are exactly the same person they always were. How is the old you going to enact new change?

Yes, it is a new year but that’s just because on September 2nd 1752, England decided that it and its colonies would abide by the Gregorian calendar instead of the Julian calendar. People went to bed on September 2nd and woke up in September 14th. Spain, Portugal and other countries had adopted the Gregorian calendar from 1582.

The point is, time is arbitrary. Moreover, you cannot access the past or the future. All you ever have is right now.

The bad things that have happened are just an accumulation of bad things from the past. And while I understand that this year has been unwieldy given the pandemic, Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths, recessions, natural disasters, man-made disasters, racial tension and the upheaval in our personal lives, why do you think that the factors that gave rise to these issues would magically disappear on January 1, 2021?

No one believes that. We’re intelligent enough to know that until change happens today, there won’t be a change at all. Until something is done now, there can be no expectation that anything will be different.

As I said earlier, I would always anticipate the next year, hoping it’d be better. The final year I did this was 2018. Why? Because the causes of my issues had finally been cut out of my life that year.

I was able to enjoy 2019 while some of my friends cited 2019 as the worst year of their lives. I had no reason to hope that 2020 would be better because things were actually good.

At the time of writing, the U.S. Presidential Election still hasn’t been decided, but Biden is leading. People came out in record numbers because they believe in something, regardless of who they were voting for. People are putting their vote where their mouth is.

Mistakes were made in how some countries handled Covid-19. They had no choice but to put in the measures to correct this.

We need to also do this in our own lives. The change we seek is in the self-appraisal and self-work we are neglecting. Those of us who did the introspection this year will see the benefit. Those of us who didn’t are certainly not exempt of these benefits. All they have to do is start now.

It is true that we do not control every aspect of our lives and as a result there are no guarantees in life, but if you’ve addressed the issues of your past, only then would I believe that your 2021 will be better than your 2020.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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