This has been a crazy and terrifying ass year. So much suffering, so many setbacks and heartbreak everywhere. This shit has affected people all over the world and in my own personal life.
2020 has been a time that some of us will never get past. I’m lucky enough to be able to talk about the top lessons that I’ve learned from this crazy circus, without having been as severely impacted as millions of others.
1. Kobe Bryant and the Other 8 Victims
As a fan of NBA basketball, I have been a Kobe fan for a long time. That horrible January day when he, his 13-year old daughter, and seven others died in a helicopter accident was gut wrenching.
It proved to me once again that our lives are so damn precious. It can all be snatched away like a thief in the night.
2. I Was Fired
Exactly a month after the Kobe tragedy, I was kicked to the curb by the company that I worked for. Ironically, I had just been promoted over a month earlier. Of course, being ditched like a peach pit presented a hardship for myself, but I didn’t panic.
I knew that somehow it would end up being a blessing in disguise.
3. The Global Pandemic
I never imagined a time when the entire planet would be ravaged by a scary ass virus. The destruction and enormous loss of life inflicted by COVID-19 has been humbling.
Like most people, I know folks who have been stricken, including my mom. Thank God that there hasn’t been too many extreme cases of those who I know personally (Ma recovered just fine). The horror stories from the front lines of hospitals nationwide makes me appreciate life so much more.
4. The Sudden Death of My Oldest Daughter’s Mother
Just a few days after my birthday, I was hit with the news that my now 22-year old daughter lost her mom. She also happened to be the first girlfriend that I ever had and in spite of endless ups and downs, she brought a lot of very important experiences to my life.
She’d been living out of state for years, but no matter what, it was a tragic and unexpected occurrence that reminded me of just how fleeting life can be.
5. My Best Friend’s Nightmare Year
He and I have been friends since we were just toddlers. In February, his nearly 15 year marriage crumbled and led to a still ongoing massive level of heartbreak and depression.
Making matters worse, he and his wife share two teenage daughters who have obviously had their world torn apart. In my opinion, the biggest devastation this year for him has been the death of his mother in April.
Sick with cancer for over a year, her deterioration was a brutal ordeal which he had to somehow find the strength to endure. Trying to do that in the midst of his marriage disaster is an unspeakable set of awful circumstances. Those massive emotional hardships made me love my own problems.
6. The George Floyd Murder
Watching Floyd, a Minneapolis black man slowly and callously killed (a bystander filmed the disgusting event) by a knee to the neck by a white [supremacist] cop was one of the most inhumane events that I’ve ever seen.
It made me feel so much gratitude for never having been in that type of situation. Despite the increased awareness of systemic racism that the fateful moment and ensuing fallout brought to the world, it was an unnecessarily tough pill to swallow for myself.
7. The “Black Lives Matter” Protests
Thank God that I was not personally affected by the protests and the riots that came as a result of the Floyd murder.
As a black person, I have been painfully aware of the always present racial issues in this country. I personally understand the incredible frustration of the black folks who resorted to rioting and property destruction.
But understanding is not the same as condoning the behavior which I absolutely do not condone. It’s a human life condition plain and simple, promoted by a feeling of being unheard and marginalized.
Everyone has their breaking point, justified or not, and most of us will never understand the plight of others until we ourselves are faced with it.
8. The Jacob Blake Shooting
Just a few months after the Floyd murder and ensuing outrage, another black man, this time in Wisconsin was shot 7 times in his back by white cops on video. It was equal parts shocking and expected, though it provided a stark reminder that we have a very long way to go in the quest for racial justice.
With all of the awareness that the Floyd murder brought, these type of scenarios were still able to take place, which is incredibly disappointing. I’m not a militant black person, and I’m not one to be a “whoa is me” victim.
But it’s a very scary situation in which to be when the killing or shooting of unarmed black men have become sport in this country. It would make sense if the cops’ lives were in danger or if these situations played out similarly with white men. So far, I haven’t seen visual evidence of that balance.
9. The Trump White House
I can’t even begin to understand what the members of President Trump’s staff have endured this year. Since 2020 was an election year, the level and intensity of his public appearances have been predictably much higher.
From his mishandling of the COVID-19 disaster to his polarizing response (or lack thereof), to the racial inequalities and the haphazard way he’s responded to the months-long vast unemployment rate; I don’t wish that kind of torture on anyone.
Make no mistake, Donald has minions who are tasked with cleaning up his myriad messes.
None of that even mentions his petulant and ridiculous behavior leading up to, and after Election Day. It was bad enough that he showcased a disturbing childishness during the debates. But given the sheer irresponsibility of his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, Trump had to be the ultimate nightmare to deal with.
It’s impossible to believe that many of his political supporters are doing so for reasons other than fear of his wrath or their own political aspirations going forward. Whatever it is, I’m just grateful that I didn’t have to deal personally with that train wreck.
10. Businesses Gone
The enormous amount of businesses that were devastated by the shutdown caused by the virus is awful. I can’t imagine how frustrating and aggravating it must have been to have your entire livelihood uprooted and taken away because of the state of the economy this year. That’s what those business owners had to face and somehow overcome.
My 2020 Takeaway
Given all that has taken place on the planet this year, I feel nothing but love and gratitude. I wouldn’t have done well at all dealing with what others have. What has your 2020 been like? Let me know in the comments.