Predicting the future is a mug’s game. No one has a magic crystal ball or even a magic 8-ball to make that future any less opaque. And yet we all look forward to 2021, leaving a mess of a year behind us unloved and unmourned.
The challenges we southern Alberta residents faced in 2020 tested us, made us question everything we thought we knew about reality as such, and, in some cases, wiped us out entirely. We will be tabulating the cost of 2020 for many years to come on our mental well-being, our family stability, and our ongoing financial health.
We have faced periods of recessions in recent years, most notably the 2008 housing crash, but this is the first widespread depression society has experienced since the 1930s. Add a pandemic and a chaotic election south of the border into the equation, and the world economy will be reeling well into 2021 even as markets begin to show some signs of bouncing back.
Having been challenged and tested in 2020, all we can do is have hope for 2021. We hope this year will be better. We hope the worst is now behind us and by this time next year it will all be a dark and diminishing memory as we make strides toward recovery.
There is a simple power in that: in having hope and moving forward with renewed optimism despite the obstacles in our path. Human beings by and large, despite the difficulty of their present circumstances, are generally eternal optimists. It is a survival trait as much as anything else, but sometimes we also need to find others to lean on to help us through. For some, that means family, for others friends, for others professional counsellors, and for others their faith.
Whatever resources you need to access to help you bear up, don’t be afraid to turn toward them if you need that shoulder to cry on, that sounding board for your troubles, or that sense of consolation and comfort.
Sometimes we have a tendency to believe we are the hero of our own great epic, and what happens in our lives has an impact on some larger scale. What 2020 has taught us is that we are powerless against some of these greater social forces.
None of us can stand against a pandemic, for example, or an oil price crash, but what we can do is stand together to face those challenges as a community. If each of us does whatever we can to help and play our part, the collective effort may make a difference where the individual effort may not.
Coming into 2021, remember none of us is ever truly alone, and if we reach out we will find the supports we need not too far away.
May we all be blessed in the coming year to find strength and solidarity.
This editorial originated in the Lethbridge Herald.