Last December while in the midst of festive-distancing, I foolishly attempted to be positive by stating that I had high hopes for 2021.
Now eleven days into the “new year” which many since dubbed Chapter two of last year, I can’t even read my exact ill-fated words and resolutions because they seem like they will have to age incredibly poorly.
Since 2016, it seems like every year has gotten progressively worse. That year was awful (economy-wise, inflation), so we assumed that 2017 would be better. But 2017 was bad too, even though it temporarily gave us hope for the better. Sadly, the euphoria was short-lived.
Having learned nothing, we thought, “Ah, better luck next year,” and when 2018 had the audacity to one-up 2017 we assured ourselves things couldn’t possibly get any worse. Then, 2019 was so bad (Cyclone Idai, severe El Nino-induced drought) that we took a firm stance and shouted to the heavens,
“OK, look. We’re tired. 2020 will, without a doubt, be a better year.”
And look what that logic got us. That year saw COVID-19 infect over 2.7 million Africans and kill over 65,000.
A surge of cases in the last quarter of the year, combined with the emergence of more contagious mutations, now poses new challenges for Africa in 2021.
In 2021, that got me thinking that in order to break our cycle of horrible years perhaps we should stop authoritatively and preemptively declaring that the next year will be better and just let the year do its thing. I understand that it’s human nature to search for the bright side in bad situations and to cling to whatever hope we possibly can to get through troubling times, and that’s all well and good. It’s crucial to keep the faith, but let’s not get overly confident and exuberant about it.
You may very well believe with all of your heart that 2020 was the worst year of your life and no other year, including 2021, will ever be able to top it. That’s fine! By all means, think that. Maybe it will be your year. Thinking to yourself that a new year will be better is totally fine! Publicly saying things like “2021 will be better” or “things can’t possibly get any worse,” absolutely forbidden.
Lugubriously, we need a big-ass miracle for that to happen because from the looks of it now, our hope for the better is quickly fading.
But hey, as we delve more into 2021, we first need to reflect on how strong each one of us has been through the course of 2020. That year fucking sucked and was filled with immense tragedy, loss, and fear, and navigating it took a lot out of us.
Perchance we just need to wait and see how things shake out this year before we say anything, OK?
Look, I want a good year so badly that I’m willing to look a little dramatic, and I hope you’ll join me as we progress with an already tumultuous 2021.