Where do we go from here?

Undoubtedly this has been the most difficult year in all of our lives. It is historical, well documented and generations will talk about it. We will never forget 2020…no matter how hard we try.

Reflecting on a year can be very drab and filled with metaphors. We typically end such remarks with “cheers to a great year ahead!” or “wonderful memories and blessings this past year”. I think it might be safe to say that such phrases have been thrown out the window as far as 2020 is concerned.

Perhaps a crisis creates the best type of reflection in our lives. Does this allow us to appreciate more of what we have lost? I know it has for me.

It was a year of a disease that caused death, mental anguish, and an unstable economy. Crisis is not unfamiliar territory for many of us and our world has been through them before and sadly will happen again. We hope that the turmoil we experience won’t happen in our children’s future but we all know life is unpredictable. Who would have thought a virus could globally tie us up like it has?

Whereas we do see a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines coming out that will hopefully control COVID, it remains to be seen what the timeline looks like and how long until life returns to a new normal.

With positive comes the negative that we have felt this past year.

No matter how you feel about the disease, you most likely knew someone that caught the disease and survived and also someone that died. In many cases we are talking multiple people in either categories.

As someone that has spent a career working with people, especially the business community, I am sensitive to the struggles I have witnessed from the nonprofit organizations to the startup entrepreneurial community. Funding across the board has been a struggle and as I reflect on this, we are not out of the woods yet as it pertains to our economies.

Individuals that relied on their industry were boxed out by a disease that left many unemployed. Hospitality industries have been decimated. I heard a podcast where a well known food entrepreneur felt that 85% of the independent restaurants may not survive the pandemic. A staggering statistic if true.

2020 was a year of virtual music, this is a screenshot from our Kennedy Center event this past October.

The music industry had a stone wall put in front of it for the better part of the year. Artists unable to perform live or tour in order to create revenue. One of the hardest occupations hit now are those full time artists that make their living “showing” audiences their craft.

Even as a musician I had optimistic views that I could adjust and either work on projects or perform virtually. I did some of that, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.

Our Artsakh…

For me, the added stress and sadness of a country under attack with lives lost and land taken away. Artsakh. The timing of such an attack on our people isn’t lost in my eyes. A convenient time for evil to prey on innocent lives.

Children’s education and mental well-being. I’m blessed to have a wife that is an educator and well adjusted children that adapted well to virtual learning environment, but what about others? Especially the younger children that are in their formidable years. The lack of human contact where we learn social skills has had a major pause button pressed and this needs to return if children are to gain the street-smarts needed in maneuvering through life.

Will we be a kinder society? Probably not. Just read your social media feeds for that answer. Normally life changing events changes our perspectives and one of those could be how we hold ourselves in front of others. What I’ve seen throughout this pandemic are those that were kind prior to the crisis and kept their kindness with genuine efforts of care towards others. However I’ve seen the uglier side of human interactions stemming from growing anxieties to political debates.

It is a new normal right? As much as we want to go back to our same lifestyle and routines, many things have altered our lives forever. Sounds stark, but I don’t know that these changes are detrimental to moving forward. Perhaps we will create quality over quantity, more conscience of our health and ‘slow our roll’ (as it were) with how we handle our work schedules.

As the smoke slowly clears, I do see some positives that have manifested itself due to this crisis. It will be interesting to see how quickly different areas will bounce back due since their initial shut downs.

Sure, I am looking forward to being able to freely go out and either support a restaurant or a live event. All musical gigs stopped back in March and I am hoping this will bounce back, but fearful that this will still take some time. Most of all, I am looking forward to seeing more people. This has taught me to value what I have and also not to waste time doing things I don’t want to do. In many cases, this gives us the ability to smell the roses.

I would like to wish all of you that read my posting a happy holiday and one that is filled with good health and love for those close to you. Good riddance 2020, hello 2021!

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