Looking to the future, reflecting on the past: A letter of goodbye to 2020

Illustration of a person looking introspective and writing a letter against a wintry background
Alexander Hong/File

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Dear 2020, 

Goodbye.

You have been a long year. Personally, I have felt your effect in my studies, in the way the holidays feel different, especially now that Christmas is coming around. While I cannot say that I have learned how to live on campus or deal with dining hall food, I can say that I have learned quite a few things somewhere within the eternity of your 12 months. One of the most important things I have learned is to cherish the time I spend with others, as well as the amount of time I have with them. I often think of our lives before quarantine, the simple pleasures, such as going to grab a coffee with a friend or settling in for a movie night. I realize now that I took this time for granted. Looking back, these simple pleasures are the times I cherish the most.

I have also learned to appreciate the people around me, including myself. 2020, you have brought me face-to-face with my loved ones and brought challenges for us to overcome together. I now cherish my parents and appreciate their love and support more than ever before. I cherish my friends and their ability to make me laugh every day no matter the circumstances. And most importantly, I have learned how to cherish myself. Spending months and months stuck in my home with only the company of myself and my immediate family, I’ve had ample time to work on the person I am and gain a little more appreciation for my body and my mind.

However, above all else, I have learned what it means to be empathetic toward others. Through inspiring movements and heavy losses, I have been given a glimpse into the struggles of the people around me. I have learned to not only acknowledge the struggles of others but feel and fight for them as well. 

Goodbye, 2020.

Within the long months of quarantine, I have also found small things to be grateful for. Personally, I am thankful for the shows, movies and music that I’ve discovered. I am thankful for the creativity I have found in the world now that our doors are closed and our minds are open. I am thankful for summer nights and sunny days, for the way the world has paused and let me improve upon myself. I am grateful to see the world come together, to see how we as a nation and a world have begun to speak out for what is right, challenge predetermined norms and push for something better. Although there is still an uphill battle waiting to be climbed and a middle ground waiting to be found, I am grateful for the humility I still find in the world every day. Overall, 2020, you have taught me how to look for the good hidden among the bad.

Goodbye, 2020.

Although there are parts of me that are grateful for what I have learned and what I have discovered, the largest part of me will not miss you, 2020. I will not miss the lowest days, where I was stuck in my bed all day. I will not miss your divisive politics. I will not miss the pain you have caused the people I love or the way you have driven a great distance between friends and family alike. I will not miss the goodbyes you have forced us to say or the losses that others have gone through. I will not miss the darkness of you, 2020, and the great pain you have caused. I cannot speak for everyone. But, I can say that we have all felt this year. We have felt the lows and the highs and everything in between. We will feel the impact of you long after you end, but we will learn to live beyond it and grow into something better. 

Goodbye, 2020. It is your time to end.

Sincerely,

A writer from the Clog

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected].