I don’t think I’ve ever looked so forward to turning the page on New Year’s Eve.
The events of 2020 have turned us into nostalgia hounds, longing for the good ole days of 2019. Although 2019 wasn’t exactly a banner year (I can’t even remember one significant event), at least it wasn’t 2020.
2020 gave us a new lexicon of phrases, like “social distancing” and “the new normal.” It introduced us to wearing masks in public and if I never hear the word “pandemic” again, it will be too soon.
A lot of people lost their jobs and others lost their businesses. Some of us lost loved ones. But for the most part, we were inconvenienced. People hoarded toilet paper and cleaning supplies, but they became available again, except Lysol, after a while. We still haven’t been able to find that anywhere.
Supermarkets, Walmart and 7-11 stayed open for those brave enough to venture outside their homes. Others used delivery services, like Peapod or Door Dash, to get their food while staying safely in their bunkers. We found that businesses offered curbside pickup, so we never had to leave our car if we did risk going out.
During the great depression and the World Wars, our parents and ancestors survived while rationing food and gas. It was like the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, only it lasted for years, not weeks. We suffered without live entertainment, like concerts or sporting events. Movie theaters closed and we complained about not being able to go out to a nice restaurant, then howled when bars were forced to close at 10 p.m. Looking at it on paper, we sound like whiny little crybabies.
Not a single person I know ran out of toilet paper. We had heat and air conditioning. The Internet didn’t shut down and TV still offered about 5,000 channels. Most of us didn’t catch the virus, but many that did were able to recover. In the summer, we went to the beaches. In the fall, we could get in our cars and enjoy the colors on the trees.
But some positives came out of this pandemic.
Traffic was lighter and you could get a seat on the LIRR. Young couples found out they could be married in a small ceremony without breaking the bank. A lot more dogs got walked, which is beneficial for the owners too.
Many employers found their employees can do as good a job (and sometimes better) if they don’t have to commute and come into the office every day. Not sure when we will be returning to our offices, but I hope they let us wear sweatpants.
So, as we look back on 2020, let’s try and remember the resilience we all showed. Most of us came through it. Sheltering in place brought most families together, for better or worse. Suddenly, we had dinner with our children and played board games instead of schlepping them to baseball games or soccer practice.
Although this pandemic won’t magically disappear at midnight on New Year’s Eve, we will still look forward to celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another. We’ve been doing that all our lives. Sometimes we gather with family and friends, sometimes we go it alone. But we all count down the last 10 seconds of the year together, no matter how good or bad it was for us. We do that because once the clock strikes midnight, it marks a new year and with it, a clean slate. A time of hope.
Dear readers, I hope all of you have a happy and healthy holiday season. Stay strong and follow the protocols, and we’ll get through this sooner rather than later. We may not have the luxury of celebrating the new year with all our family and friends, but one tradition remains.
We can all enjoy The Honeymooners marathon.
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist (2018, 2020) and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.