It would be easy to tell 2020 to go burn in h-e-double hockey sticks. It would be easy to tell 2020 to go *whatever* itself. But this is my plea to you: let’s not let it go down like that. Let’s not let 2020 off the hook just yet.
I remember scrolling through Facebook (in the very sad days before I discovered the twitterverse) during the final week of 2019. I read post after post about how people couldn’t wait for the year to be over. How they wanted nothing more than to watch 2019 go down in a burning ball of flames. I can’t recall what spurned the hatred for that year, but I think we can all agree it was unwarranted.
We were so innocent then. Counting down the final ten seconds to the year that would irreparably change our lives, without even an inkling of what was to come. There were still the typical emotions that accompany a burgeoning year: love, hope, joy…the promise of something better borne through simply turning the page of a Gregorian calendar. And then THIS.
It is so easy to find darkness. Sadness. Despair. If you look for something bad, you will undoubtedly find it. There is no question. But I promise something else, too. If you search for something good, bright, happy, it’s there. Even in 2020.
The final weeks of December ask us to do the same thing every single year. 2020 is no different. Reflect. I have taken time to think about my year and find the bright spots.
Because my teaching job went entirely remote, I have had the opportunity to spend my son’s entire first year of life at home with him. This is a gift that I never planned on receiving but could not be more grateful for.
If 2020 hadn’t happened, I don’t know that my husband and I would have participated in a virtual trivia night, but yes…that happened! And we had the opportunity to lose miserably from the comfort of our living room couch.
I have spent more time talking to my mom on the phone ever before and I’m so happy for our chats…every couple hours…sorry mom!
I have watched no shortage of virtual events this year, listening to authors talk about their books and hearing about their writing processes. This is something I likely wouldn’t have done, nor had the time for, in another scenario.
Because of 2020, I found Twitter. I started writing like I never have before because of the incredible writing community. I finished my first novel this summer. And at the writing of this piece, have written almost three-quarters of another one. I found The Daily Drunk mag which is a community like no other. This is where my first poem was ever published and countless pieces thereafter. I spread my writing wings and published around fifty pieces in total this year, with the crowning moment definitely being a Pushcart nomination for my poem “Second Drink” at The Daily Drunk, courtesy of none other than the famous, Shawn Berman. And, alongside my incredibly talented sister, started an e-zine of my own. Because of 2020, I found Twitter, I found these lovely publications, but most incredibly I found you, my fellow writers. You are a gift to me everyday and have been a light in this year that seems to never end. Your support and your words do not go unnoticed.
This is what I think: don’t provoke 2020. Don’t poke it with a stick or call it names. Just leave it be. Let it go.
So, in the coming days as we close out this year, this is my ask of you: take a few moments and think of the light, the joy, the happiness that 2020 has given you. I hope this tactic will work better for us as we usher in 2021!
Happy holidays and a happy New Year to you Writing Fam
…oh, and #TeamDD forever!
Elizabeth Bates is a writer from Washington state where she lives with her husband, son, and two Siberian Huskies. She is the EIC of Dwelling Literary. Her column “Full Send” has been featured at The Daily Drunk. Bates’ writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Your Dream Journal, GLITCHWORDS, Second Chance Lit, Poetically Magazine, Seaborne Magazine, Versification, and elsewhere.