The past year was full of reflections and realizations
As we grow, how many years, in terms of dates, do we remember to truly recollect as we travel to another world? Not many, eh? My birth year? Maybe. When we first went to school? Of course. When we first fell in love. Yes. Got wedlocked? Or the year when we decided to stay single? You bet. The years when our children were born? Yup, for sure. When our muktijoddhas fought the War for Independence? Yes. When there were great floods? Famine? Maybe.
We remember the years when something ubiquitously significant happens in our lives. The rest? They don’t matter perhaps. Those were just years or moments when we craved to make love, desired a job, bought a car, or lived in a pigeonhole called an apartment, or an insurance, or a pension.
The year 2020 will be a year that almost every human, currently living, will remember with great importance. Most will remember it as the year of the plague, and the majority may recall 2020 with detestment, with abhorrence, and with hate. This was the year when about 2 million humans passed away with great suffering.
A virus changed almost everything in our lives. We hated the virus, and along with it, we hated 2020.
In the last quarter of 2020, I was surprised to see that people around me wishing and praying that the year would end soon. They wanted to step into 2021 quickly in order to forget 2020. It was as if in 2021, the virus would go away, the deaths would stop, the jobs would return, and we all would become as normal as we were in 2019.
Will that really happen as soon as we step into 2021?
I have a very different observation about it, and I will remember the year of the plague with admiration, with respect, and with love. Because this was the year when I went through a psychological metamorphosis. It was the time when many of us had the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of life. We thought about what truly mattered in life.
Take the three-month lockdown, for example.
I observed that nature is better off without human intervention. The non-human species out there felt happier when we were stuck at home. The air was cleaner, the stars shone brighter.
It was a time when I could see what we were doing to our Mother Earth.
Of course, we observed sadness and starvation all around us, as people lost their jobs, and many had to beg for food. But at the same time, there was an empathetic and compassionate explosion in our hearts and minds for helping others. I haven’t seen such eagerness among the people to help others in any previous year.
Each and every one of us had risen to the occasion, and helped the people who lost everything. I have seen how the haves had started thinking about the have-nots, the rich started contemplating whether they need that much wealth at all. Each and every human, no matter which class of wealth they belonged to, had asked many questions to their inner selves -- questions about life, questions about living.
Praying for each other had become the norm of 2020. Everyone had prayed for everybody -- from their hearts.
Many societies have started contemplating on minimalistic ways of living. We found time to think about how our current greed-driven economic systems were working, and whether it was possible to find sustainable alternatives to the unsustainable.
It was indeed a year for health care. Many of us understood what we have not been doing to keep ourselves healthy. And 2020 taught us that it is health, the wisest form of wealth, that we should accumulate.
Our relationships experienced a different realization. We understood how compatible we were with our partners. Many parted ways, many found newer ways to sustain their relationships, and many discovered that happiness lies in happy relationships.
The commoners attained a different maturity. About statecraft. About the roles of the leaders who run the state. The year of coronavirus was a unique year when the politicians realized that it wasn’t possible to fool all the people all the time.
It was 2020 when I observed that positivity reigned supreme. At the professional level, it has taught me how I can be better than yesterday, what true team spirit was, and how to run a business that benefits society.
At the individual level, I experienced the wisdom of attaining a different kind of husbandhood, a different kind of fatherhood. I became a better sibling to my siblings.
Yes, it was the year that changed me and my family and friends positively. And we would like to remember 2020 with great fondness. It was when I tried looking at my soul, the self, and the purity that I have as a wonderful creation of the universe.
My love for 2020.
Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller, and a communications professional. His other works can be read on ekramkabir.com.