Hello, my name’s 2020.
You may know me already by my latest work, of which I’m very proud.
It may have been critically condemned across the board, but after a total wipe-out it wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t give you all a fighting chance for the last few months.
So as I’m winding down to a close I wanted to take a second to help you recap the lessons you’ve learned during your exciting, extended torture.
Apocalypse bingo is a real thing
Variety was a big focus this time, and I do deserve a medal for creativity.
Tragedy after tragedy, the world was shocked as things kept getting worse. When you’re sat looking at the news and start to smell impending global doom, it’s actually okay to brace yourself in advance.
Many were guilty of not recognising the world was about to crumble, even after some big cities on the other side of the world had begun to close.
You should probably realise by now that when you knock over the first domino, you have to be ready for the last one to fall, too.
There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want
Sitting around eating microwave pizza is what evolution has conditioned humans to do, and so it’s no wonder after three months inside, it’s still all you want to do.
I should’ve known so many people would be happy to lock themselves away in their homes for so long. You guys were treating it as one big vacation, and even had the cheek to feel good about doing your part for society.
Sure, I started off the year with a near miss. Luckily though, with all the time in the world a lot of you chose to squander it anyway.
You need face-time more than you realize
Consider first, that you’re not as much of a loner as you thought you were.
You may or may not be the most sociable person in the universe, but spending months holed up in a room with just videogames and Zoom can get old fast. Speaking with family and friends face to face is a valuable part of every day life that refills your invisible reservoir of social satisfaction.
Come on, introverts! You too, will benefit from staying topped up, and it shouldn’t take depleting your supply in a surprise pandemic to realise.
Standing together beats not standing at all
Flying supplies to countries in shortage; delivering groceries to those at risk; saving koalas from natural disaster; I must concede these were effective countermeasures on your part.
Deploying the virus was meant to separate everybody and create vulnerability. The events that followed prove that finding some way to help each other solve a problem even is always going to be an effective strategy.
Some things can only be done in numbers; from curing a disease to protesting racial injustice.
Sometimes, everything sucks
Illness sucks, isolation sucks, bankruptcy sucks, and life is always subject to change. Someone like me could turn up out of nowhere to ruin your day once, twice, or 365 times in a row.
Preparing backups for finance, health, and supplies is hard, but you at least need a plan for damage control. This time, travelling internationally or just to the store got complicated quickly, and there are also many other privileges that vanished without warning.
Get out there and do the things you want to do before you can’t.
Don’t eat bats
Okay fine, you can’t know for sure if it was bats that everything off this time. It’s simpler to pin everyone’s problems on one thing, but it’s not useful for future prevention.
You might be able to cure a virus by looking at the source, but you can’t turn back time to start earlier containment or invest more in biomedical research.
Widespread global protests this year were largely the result of a dysfunctional system. It’s important to analyse and correct problems before they develop, and this applies on an individual and societal level.
Relying on reactionary measures this time around lead to more sickness and more destruction. Consider the consequences of your actions.
Hindsight is 2020
I’m really hoping there have been more takeaways than just this handful, because if next year is this easy to sabotage, it’ll be no fun for anyone.
Reflection on your species’ privileges, choices, and core beliefs should happen constantly and not just when forced. The world’s tolerance for hardship has had to level-up ahead of schedule but it did take a series of back-to-back wake-up calls to happen.
Thanks to my despicable handiwork, there were a lot of permanent, negative marks made on the human experience.
To your credit, there were also many marks of positive progress, so the final lesson is your own: ‘Act now’ because there’s still time to even the score.