2020 is done

There is no reset button, no way to erase annus horribilis. But perhaps optimism about a new year isn't unwarranted

Spare a thought for the eternal optimists, the sharers of inspirational Instagram quotes; the ones who managed to see silver linings throughout the dark clouds of annus horribilis. After all, the glass-half-full lot went through the same trials as the rest of humanity — salary cuts, job losses, the strains on domestic life as they had to work from home. But while most cribbed and moaned, these people found “learning experiences” and saw great potential in the digital world. While their attempts to present being broke as “a welcome opportunity to pare down expenses” or loneliness as “getting to know ‘me’” were well-meaning, they were also extremely annoying.

Now that 2020 is done and dusted, perhaps these manic over-compensations too shall end. The optimism, perhaps, can be more genuine. The vaccines are almost here, the economy will pick up, and consumption and society can go back to 2019. Maybe the year in between can be erased. The world could decide, in a wilful act of collective denial akin to what habitual gamblers and hedonists often invoke when they are broke and hungover — let what happened in 2020 stay in 2020. Unfortunately, though, there is no reset button.

The office, as the world knew it, is not going to return — it’s cheaper to have more people work from home. And the internet had already made many, if not most, people digital citizens — glued to a screen watching puppy videos rather than engaged with flesh-and-blood humans. Relationships and love, remember, have been about swiping right for some time now. But the worst, hopefully, is over. The restrictions and tribulations of 2020 will be a thing of the past. The virus may have bruised humanity, but it has not beaten us. As a new normal approaches, perhaps everyone should face 2021 with a bit of optimism.

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