Where we've been, where we're going
We’ve reached the end of 2020. I’m not where I thought I’d be. I suspect a lot of us aren’t. 2020 has been tumultuous, to say the least, and it can be easy to forget about any of the small joys or the personal growths amidst the collective despondency.
But the ‘success’ of a year can’t really be measured in binaries; good or bad, difficult or easy. Rather, there’s a grey area in which we find ourselves operating most of the time: the good is tempered by the bad, and vice versa. One does not simply negate the other, both are true. They have to be true.
To be clear, in no way do I intend to diminish the horrors that 2020 has wrought. A global pandemic which has killed approximately 1.49 million people worldwide. An impending failure by countries across the globe to meet the Paris Climate Agreement (we are said to be producing over 120% more fossil fuels than needed to meet the Agreement). Large numbers of new detention camps which have been uncovered in the Xinjiang region of China. A Black Lives Matter movement forced to rise and meet the horrors of police brutality, initiated in part by George Floyd’s horrific murder in U.S., and closer to home, by the rising death toll of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at the hands of police, with over 440 deaths in custody since 1991.
These things are terrible, and nothing can change that.
But we’ve also seen growth, the good that tempers the bad. Promising COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, and the indirect effects of pandemic contingency policies have been linked to improvements in air quality, cleaner beaches, and reduced environmental noise. Across the world, there have been significant achievements for the LGBTQI+ community: same sex marriage has been legalised in places like Costa Rica and Puebla, Mexico; conversion therapy has been banned in various states (including Mexico City) and countries (including Albania); and in Zambia, the President has pardoned approximately 3000 inmates that were convicted for homosexuality in the past decade(s). The Black Lives Matter movement has gained strength throughout the world, powered by brave people who are passionate about justice and creating a better future. In the U.S., the presidential election saw the highest voter turnout in 120 years, and the result is a new, more democratic (literally) future in America, particularly for marginalised peoples.
Personally, my year has looked a lot like the above; some good, some bad.
What I do know is that I feel changed by 2020; by the experiences that have affected the world, and the experiences that have affected just me. I feel equal parts more confident and more uncertain in myself and my direction. I feel myself clinging to certain parts of my life that are diminishing with time; certain relationships that can’t hold true. Yet I also find myself appreciating things which were already there, and which suddenly hold a new (or maybe just different) value in my life. I am losing and gaining, an evolution and devolution in motion. Right now, that feels like enough.