With 2021 nearly here, it’s finally time to say goodbye to the horrible year that has been 2020. This has been a year that has changed the world like none other in my lifetime. And for how terrible 2020 has been, it would be easy to say, “This is a year I’d like to forget.”
But perhaps 2020 should be a year we should always try to remember.
There’s never been another year in my life where I truly learned so many lessons. And to try and forget those lessons would be a disservice.
The thing that I will always remember about 2020 is that it taught me to enjoy the little things in life. Honestly, before 2020, I took things for granted and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. How was I supposed to know how special going out to dinner and seeing a movie afterwards truly was? What about going to a ballgame, concert or play? Those are all things that I did at a drop of a hat and didn’t think twice about.
We just celebrated Christmas, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t attend a big family party. Growing up, I’d typically go to a Christmas Eve gathering at my mom’s house and then see my dad the following day. Now that I’m married, there’s a whole other family that I have to fit into our schedule, which makes the Christmas season a little hectic.
There was none of that this year.
With my in-laws living out of state, they made the decision to not come to California, which was the right call. Because of that, we had to focus on just my parents.
On Christmas Eve, the lovely Mrs. Dossi and I went to visit my father, but we didn’t go inside and kept our distance. After that, we drove to Tuolumne to see my mom. Again, we kept our distance during the visit and didn’t stick around too long. Then we went home and celebrated Christmas, just the two of us.
I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the quality time with my wife, but it did feel odd not being able to see family. Maybe next Christmas I won’t complain (as much) when having to go to family gatherings.
Another thing that 2020 has taught me is to appreciate having the ability to work. I’ve never disliked my job. Truthfully, I think I’m pretty fortunate to do what I do. I get paid to watch sports. Aside from being paid to sleep, I can’t think of anything better.
Just because I enjoy my job, doesn’t mean that I don’t have to put in long hours. Sometimes, my days would stretch over 10 hours and because of covering late games and trying to do as much as I could, my head would hit the pillow in the early morning hours. Like most sportswriters, I would get pretty burnt out by the end of May and would use the summer to recharge and get ready for the fall, winter and spring.
But now, after not covering a live sporting event since March, I am starting to feel like sports will never return. Of course, I know that’s not true, but nearly 10 months of not covering a game is too long. When I do get the opportunity to cover games again, maybe I won’t take for granted how lucky I am to do what I do and will appreciate the thrill of athletic competition, regardless of who is playing.
Another thing that 2020 taught me is to never dismiss a smile. We’ve been wearing masks for such a long time now and that has changed the way I interact with strangers. Before, if someone opened the door for me in public I would smile and say, “Thank you.” Now, the smile is gone.
Because of masks, everyone is expressionless. Happiness, pain, fear, excitement, joy and remorse have all been hidden and replaced with a generic blank canvas. Growing up, I was told that a smile could brighten someone’s day. We’ve been unable to smile for such a long time; I hope that is something that isn’t forgotten once the masks are able to be left at home.
And perhaps the biggest lesson that 2020 has taught me was that nothing is guaranteed. OK, that’s a line that has been said since the beginning of time and I tend to think most equate that with living or dying. Yes, we never know when our number will be called and that’s true. I now feel that, perhaps more than ever, we are starting to understand that life can change in an instant and we still have to live through it.
It’s not guaranteed that we will be able to see our friends or family in person. It’s not guaranteed that our favorite sport will be played or our favorite musician will be in concert. It’s not guaranteed that you can shake a stranger’s hand or walk into a building without some sort of protective attire. So, when we are able to do all those things, rejoice in the fact that we can and relish those moments, because we never know when those moments will be taken away.
Now it’s time to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021. I hope the next 12 months bring none of the misfortune that the previous year had, and I hope the lessons learned aren’t so hard. For me, it’s another year that I get to enter and for that, I’m extremely grateful. If 2020 was the year to never forget, maybe 2021 will be the year I’ll always want to remember.
And lastly, perhaps the biggest thing that I learned in 2020 is this: When life is hard and you are feeling like there is no escape, just stay calm, take a deep breath and buy as much toilet paper as you can. Happy New Year!