What to say about this year? It was the year where you couldn’t avoid the news because we were all right in the middle of it.
I hear people calling this year, The Great Reset. It got me thinking that maybe it’s not such a bad idea to make it official. And from January 1st reset the planet to the year 1AC.
Diary makers will be furious considering 2021 calendars are on the stands already. But if we look past the inconvenience to our stationary brothers and sisters, there could be a huge upside to this.
I’m not a Christian myself, but the last time there was a global resetting of the clock, there was this young chap called Jesus who was born in a manger. Why was that though, the whole manger part? Well history tells us that back then 90% of the population were broke, 10% were rich, and the top 1% were nobility. There was no concept of civil or workers’ rights, taxation was through the roof, and Joseph by best accounts was a gig worker.
Hmm, sounds kind of familiar.
Point being that things were not working for the majority of the people and needed a huge shift. So from 1AD to 33AD JC set the world off on a new course.
And today, a new course seems to be what we all want more than anything. Had the whole Corona episode ended in June, we probably would have gone back to normal. And normal was the problem in the first place.
Yet that initial hard stop pumped the brakes on the rest of the year. Forced us to all look in the mirror. And for many, created a desire to go back to something different. A fresh start. The first year After Corona. 1AC. Because 2020 has been The Great Reset, no doubt. For instance…
Essential work. In Germany there is a term, “system-relevant” meaning that your job is essential to the survival of the country and wellbeing of the people in it. Like most folks, I thought my job was important-ish in the scheme of things. But it wasn’t at all. Unless you were working in the medical field, in a supermarket or pharmacy, collecting rubbish or keeping the utilities operating, you were not important. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. The people who were normally invisible were the only ones who mattered. They were heroes. It made a lot of us re-evaluate what we’re doing with our lives. And about changing careers. Especially if your old job went away like so many did.
Essentials in general. Chatting with friends over Zoom happy hours (remember those fucking things?) we all marvelled at how we’d barely spent any money in weeks. But we were all alive and healthy and living in our homes. We wondered, what did we spend all our money on before?
I read something during lockdown that really stuck with me. The author made that point that the cost of something is actually not the price. It’s the hours. How much of our time on earth are we prepared to give up to own it? And then, how much extra time we give up to make the rent that pays for the space it takes up in our home?
I certainly realized the only thing that actually matters is the hours we spend with family and friends. Everything else is just Instagram. And for so much of this year, they were the one necessity we couldn’t have.
Globalization. It was destroyed in a month. A month. Worldwide shortages of medical supplies were the first and most shocking lack. We’re so used to anything we want magically appearing the next day, it seemed impossible that we couldn’t have the things we needed in the click of our fingers. But during Corona, if it wasn’t made in your country, you couldn’t get it. People began to worry about food shortages in Europe. Local is reliable. Global is a dice roll.
Now the companies who are bigger than countries have got it all rolling again. But the lesson can’t be ignored. It stopped because we stopped buying things. We the people are the economy. Which means we call the shots if we want to.
FOMO. It died. And I hope it doesn’t rest in peace. When there was nothing going on, there was nothing to miss. It looked for a while like if you didn’t make sourdough, you failed quarantine. But truly, I started to wonder what the rest of my life had been about in the ten years that I’d had a smart phone. It was a sprint to try to get ahead in some kind of game that I never thought I was ever winning. And wasn’t ever really quite sure what the rules were.
And since I was happily wearing the same Lockdown outfits every day, it made me look at all the designer clothes that I’d amassed over the years and wonder why I’d bought them. Did I even like these things? Or did I like what I thought people thought of me when I wore them? When I bought a jacket on my between-Lockdowns trip to London, there was some part of me that felt ill. Even though I love it.
But then back FOMO came. Only now it was ROMO — The Reality of Missing Out. People found legal gaps between lockdown laws and hit beaches in Western Europe safely. Australia and New Zealand contained Corona. And in true Antipodean style, everyone went to the beach. I had to mute some feeds for a while. I’m happy for you, I just don’t want to see it till I’m there too. Sorry, it’s my ROMO kicking in.
Racism and sexism have had very interesting 2020s for sure.
Black Lives Matter. Finally, a movement that has been gathering speed for years exploded out onto the streets after the death of George Floyd. The ripple effects went all over the world and every country was forced to face up to its racial past and present. There’s still a long way to go, but there’s no way to un-reset what is now in motion and thank the Goddess for that.
Politics. Major reset. Countries with female leaders fared far better. Stats bear it out. Their measures were faster, kinder, more inventive, more effective, more transparent and saved lives. Taiwan, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Germany. Female leadership. Meanwhile, America, Brazil, The UK and Russia. Boys, boys, boys.
When Marina released the song Man’s World this year, her catch-phrase, “I don’t want to live in a Man’s World anymore,” felt like she was speaking for the majority of planet earth.
Speaking of the world, if you think of it like a big jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces changed their shape this year too. Resets all round.
The EU lost the U. When it came to the crunch, it was every country for themselves. There was no master plan. There was no unified action to help the first European countries that suffered with Corona. Even states within one nation had completely opposite viewpoints. And as we re-opened borders to some and not all, it also re-opened age old rivalries, cultural divides, unresolved histories and old national wounds. Many countries are murmuring about their own Brexits. People are taking a long hard look at the EU and wondering what’s its point and what’s its future.
Brexit. It’s a bit like the American election now. Can it please just be over? I don’t know if it will be a Hard Brexit, I hope it works out well somehow. But it’s definitely a hard reset for everyone involved.
China. Muscles are flexed. None of us know what it all means yet.
America. Put it this way. You don’t look the same anymore. We still love you, but… you know what you need to do. Just do it.
But maybe the greatest reset of all was to discover that we are endlessly adaptable.
If you’d told me at the start of January that we’d all be in our homes for months on end, I would never have believed it in a million years. Even though how we were living felt all wrong, I didn’t think we could stop. Yet we did. And now for a second time here in Germany and many other parts of the world. There hasn’t been a bigger societal wide behavior change in my lifetime. Which makes me wonder, what else are we capable of?
So, a reset seems to be exactly the thing that we need. Because it’s actually already started. So when this year clicks over to 2021, I’m going to pretend that it’s 1AC instead.
Because 2021 feels like another number that’s more of the same. 1AC just feels different. Like anything’s possible. That we could start again and make it all work in a way that we want.
Bringing it full circle and back to the birth of Christ, well, even Xmas got cancelled this year. I think Jesus is giving us a sign.