(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

Ryan’s Regards: So long 2020

A look back at the last twelve months proves to be a dizzying exercise in reflection

It’s over… we did it! We made it through 2020!

If you are reading this, you survived twelve months that people around the world are collectively calling a… well, I’m unable to print most of the words that people are calling 2020.

From the tragedy of Flight 752 to Canada’s worst mass shooting.

The world shook amid tumultuous Black Lives Matter protests, the most contested and controversial U.S. election in modern history, and, in the words on my grandmother halfway through 2020, “this virus thing going around.”

Everyone is tired of COVID. Everyone is tired of hearing about COVID. I’m tired of writing about COVID.

But, as we emerge from this year live out the decades to come, 2020 will be defined in hour history books as the year of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even in our small community, unprecedented challenges shook the community.

We experienced shocking homicides and a stark increase in opioid overdoses.

A relentless fire at the Madison Place complex displaced dozens of residents in a matter of minutes.

The seven-decade old Alder Inn came tumbling down, bringing with it a flurry of mixed emotions.

Was this the worst year on record?

I recall a large portion of people labelling 2016 as a bad year all around – one I frequently look back on as one of my favourites so far.

The high profile deaths of celebs like David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, I believed, tipped the scales on that one though, prompting a widespread belief that the year was somehow cursed.

Looking at in history, it’s pretty difficult to compare.

The death tolls that mounted during both World Wars or the despair the emerged throughout the Great Depression are impossible to top.

Looking at ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, war in slavery Syria, kidnappings in Nigeria, women’s rights protests in Mexico, authoritarian rule in Venezuela, and the seemingly impossible battle to reverse the effects of climate change – the scales certainly do shift again.

READ MORE: Ryan’s Regards: It’s a Wonderful Pandemic

But I’m far too optimistic to admit I lived in a contender for worst year ever.

I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and love in my life. Anyone who has that surely can’t be too fussy about how 2020 went.

It seems to me that survival has gotten shockingly easy for some while existential questions of purpose and belonging have gotten painfully complex.

The best things about my 2020 was that I took over the editor’s chair of the Aldergrove Star, got to take a COVID-friendly road trip to the tip top of the Yukon this past summer – camping the whole way and counting at least 30 bears – and never once this year did I hoard or run out of toilet paper.

That, and Bruce Springsteen made one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long, long while.

When you think about it, 2020 was more of a unifying year of positivity than it gets credit for.

Through hard, thankless teamwork, the Australian wildfires were put out.

People clanged pots and pans to bring cheer to one another. They got creative and crafted family-made viral videos, held drive-by birthday parades, and stayed in touch with the incredible invention that is Zoom.

People, many in this very community, came together to decorate lights and hold record-breaking fundraisers.

Drive-in movie theatres made a comeback!

And in less than nine months, science prevailed to roll out a vaccine that has already been positively altering the lives of millions around the globe.

In 2020, we learned that we are more connected a global community than I dare say ever before.

My condolences if you lost a loved one during this year.

But judging how so many did come together (desipite what social media might unfairly tell you), I think the forecast for 2021 has sun and blue skies ahead.


Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@aldergrovestar.com

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