What could possibly be said about 2020 that hasn’t already been thought, spoken, screamed, written and “memed”?
In Australia it started with savage bushfires which burnt their way through so much of this country causing grief, distress and loss of people, property and animals.
Then, toward the end of the year many Australians were face with devastating floods as the country went from one extreme of weather to another.
All this bought out the indomitable Australian spirit and again Australian’s showed that their generosity saw no bounds. Sadly the Australian Prime Minister was initially among the missing during the early days of the fires as they ravaged the east coast, and even when he came back to Australia, his appearances and often his words, failed to pacify many Australians.
Of course insurance companies raced to get help to victims and paid promptly, as did the custodians of the millions of dollars raised through fund-raising, proving that while Australians as individuals cannot be faulted in times of crisis, insurance companies and organisations seem to constantly be playing catch up.
Then came COVID? A word that meant little to us at first, an issue that seemed to be for other countries, but we learned very quickly how devastating the COVID pandemic could be, and, proved to be.
It would be reasonable to say that no one in this country had ever witnessed the kind of disruption to every element of of the Australian community, that we suddenly found ourselves in.
Everything changed, and everything constantly changed as we went into social isolation and a life behind masks. Victoria had the extremes – the worst of the case numbers, and then the longest lockdowns and then, and then through sheer tenacity and sticking to the Health Department rules, witnessed an amazing situation where community transmission was stopped. Dead!
Dead until just two days ago when three women have presented with COVID symptoms which in turn has raised fears of “are we going to go there again” and even harsher comments, throughout social media Now, that number has risen to eight with authorities saying it will go higher!
It shows, we can never relax enough to let our guard down.
What lockdown did do, for many of us, was to provide a chance to evaluate what was really important, and, it seemed as though family once again became the focus of our lives, with everything else relegated to less importance.
It was for many a case of really living the adage, “think globally, live and act locally”.
But we can’t live without an income, and the effort to get Australia back to work is now a consuming focus of activity. However, far too many of our fellow citizens do go into 2021 without employment and with a large degree of uncertainty.
There have been so many issues, so many stories and so much disaster in 2020, it may be a long time before we can really reflect and see the year for what it really was.
Yet, even with a COVID vaccination now a reality, it would be foolish to think that on the stroke of midnight, December 31st, that everything will change for the better.
2021 will be very much an extension of 2020. Countries like Australia who did the hard yards and have seemingly successfully dealt with controlling COVID, are likely to continue to do so and, 2021 will take on a more “normal” feel, with the exception of International travel.
Sadly, far too many countries who are in real COVID trouble now, are likely to carry those troubles well into 2021, even with vaccinations.
One further thing 2021 promises to provide, is, a more stable USA, and that should mean a more stable world. The realisation by a majority of US voters that Donald Trump would only take that country further into disaster resulted in a new President.
Biden’s Presidency is likely to go down as one of the most memorable, both for the absolute mess he has inherited, and for the inordinate amount of repairing that country will need to do, internally, and externally.
To achieve even bringing the USA back to where it was pre-Trump, will mean he will be remembered as one of the hardest working Presidents. A real change from the man he defeated.
We have to look toward 2021 as being less stressful than 2020, less disruptive than 2020 and for the formation of a new kind of “normality”. Things on so many levels, will never be the same again.
However, at least in Australia we have the opportunity of creating a new reality, personally, locally and nationally.
2020 was a hell of a year!
No matter what 2021 brings, it must be better and, we wish so for all of you.
Rob Greaves – Senior Editor