Saying Goodbye to 2020

2020’s been so rough I think most of us can’t wait to say goodbye.

It was supposed to be the dawn of a new era. An urgent, but hopeful time to solve humanity’s greatest problems. Heck, if you’re Malaysian, Wawasan 2020’s been ingrained in our minds since we were kids — visions of flying cars and all.

Instead mother nature gave us a painful reminder that for all our grand plans, a tiny microorganism, 400 times smaller than the width of a human hair can fuck everything up and shut everything down.

2020 was supposed to be a bright start. Instead it felt like a dead end.

Struggling for Connection

My greatest struggle this year was the isolation. I identify as an introvert, so you’d think being stuck at home for long periods of time wouldn’t be so bad. Or so I thought.

Instead, I found myself missing interactions I’d taken for granted my whole life.

I miss playing basketball with my friends. Since I was 16, the longest stretch of time where I haven’t played pickup basketball is probably six weeks. This year, I haven’t gone out to play since March. That’s a 20-year streak broken. It hurts.

But what hurts more than missing the game, is not having that bowl of Sup Tulang with a healthy serving of guy talk after the game.

I miss my friends and I miss my family. I miss their touch.

What’s Life Without Physical Connection?

I miss the face-to-face interactions at work. I miss the drinks after work and the Friday evening karaoke sessions where colleagues become friends.

And the buzz in the air at large gatherings of people — whether it’s a conference or a congregation. What can ever replace that? I was watching old rock concerts over Christmas. It was sweet watching Bon Jovi in his prime prancing around on stage at Wembley. It was bitter realizing how COVID took away concerts.

Being stuck at home 24/7 with your partner is challenging too. Especially for a newly-wed couple who’re used to living alone. It’s the ultimate relationship stress test — will you be able to stop yourselves from strangling each other?

I’m grateful that despite our occasional disagreements, we’ve continued to work on resolving issues and improving our partnership.

Perspective and Gratitude

I try to write this with respect.

I know my struggles are nothing compared to those who actually caught the virus or had to deal with someone dying. I’m aware the challenges of working from home are nothing compared to how difficult frontliners’ work must be.

My heart goes out to anyone who lost their job, struggled to earn money, or had to take a pay cut.

I know how privileged I am. I know 2020’s actually granted me lots of family time and space to write. I’m stuck in the awkward position of knowing how tone deaf my writing might sound, and still feeling I need to share my struggles.

For those of you keeping us safe; keeping the world running, even as you surely must be running on fumes now — thank you.

Tomorrow We’ll Rise Again

It’s the end of 2020. A year where so much happened but flew by as if it didn’t.

It’s been tough and I’m tired. I just feel like lying down and resting for a while now.

Maybe I’ll dream about getting that 95% vaccine. That we’ll be able to dine out, karaoke, play basketball, and travel to exotic locations soon. That life will finally return to that beautiful memory we once shared.

Or maybe it’ll be a nightmare of the hardest parts of 2020 repeating. Of isolation, fear and death. Maybe 2020 was just a trailer, and 2021 is where shit gets real.

Or maybe my dream will be a collection of real memories. Of how things were unprecedented, yet we quickly adapted. Of how despite all the blows and the falls, we took it on the chin and eventually stood back up. Of resilience under pressure. Of triumph.

Tomorrow, next year, we’ll wake up and do it all over again.

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Pic from Pexels: Sebastian Voortman

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  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Aaron.
    Hope you stay safe and healthy (so I can continue to read your posts).

  • Thank you Aaron for your meaningful, heartfelt article.
    2020 taught me 3 lessons:
    1. How frail my life is. Where can I hide from the virus – my home, office, church? The safest place for me to hide is in God. “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee” – Augustus Toplady.
    2. How fragile is my self-confidence in my own personal ability, cleverness to secure my future – saving, investment, career, health, relationships
    3. 2020 taught me to stop, meditate on my insufficiency but to lean on God’s sufficient grace. 2020 is God’s gracious manner in demonstrating His love to me that I need an eternal Saviour. I am undeserving, condemned, unclean sinner. But He is the God of love who has provided an atonement for sin by punishing His own Son, Jesus Christ for my sin on the cross so I can be forgiven and washed of all my sins by His precious pure cleansing blood shed at Calvary.

    What is my hope for 2021 – vaccine, vibrant economic recovery, jobs aplenty?
    My only hope is God who alone will be there to hold my hand as I traverse the valley of the shadow of death. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

    Romans 8: 32, 38, 39 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
    For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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