No one could ever have imagined the past year that was 2020.
Whenever I see that number, I think back to my seventh grade sociology class. The assignment had been to imagine what life would be in the very futuristic-sounding year of 2020. Our teacher had boldly brandished giant twos and zeroes in multi-colored chalk on the blackboard to serve as a backdrop for when each of us presented our projects. My project had been a glitzy poster-board triptych with a lot of silver paint, aluminum foil, and glitter depicting a spacesuit-clad society living in massive, interconnected, glass-domed cities on Saturn, complete with personal space crafts for intergalactic travel. But hindsight is always—wait for it—2020—and my project would later prove to have two major flaws. We humans are not quite ready to colonize other worlds, and Saturn doesn’t actually have any solid ground to build cities with domes. Go figure.
This past March, in a much grimmer 2020, Suna temporarily closed because of the global pandemic. As we began working from home, routines changed. Reality shifted. Phrases like sheltering in place, social distancing, and flattening the curve crept into our lexicon like uninvited guests. We became isolated and solitary. This strange, new world was much more complex. Even a quick trip to grab a coffee posed a very serious health risk.
I didn’t know how I would react to staying at home so much. Some friends joke that I’m a gypsy because I am constantly galavanting. Between commuting, business travel, personal travel, and all the other things New York City has to offer, I was often out of the house early and home late. When you factor in my great affinity for all things sparkly and keen fascination with crystal balls, it is a gypsy trifecta. So, one can only imagine how shockingly ironic yet extremely apropos it was when I learned that my great, great grandmother was a real, authentic, honest-to-goodness gypsy in Europe. So, when the world stopped, my roaming screeched to a grinding halt.
And then a funny thing happened.
Gradually at first, I became more present and mindful. Even though I constantly watched the news, I learned that I would never appreciate the here and now if I was always stressed about the future. Tomorrow would happen whether I worried or not. I could only change without attempting to change anything.
I learned to truly appreciate all that was good in my life. I had been fortunate to have had many colorful adventures, but staying at home was a strangely welcome shift in to a slower gear that allowed me to reflect on and savor the memories. But most importantly, I became a much better listener. I connected with friends and family on a more profound level even though I couldn’t physically be with them. Most conversations were punctuated with an “I love you.”
Most of us are really counting on 2021 to be better, brighter, happier and safer. I would guess that our resolutions will reach deeper than the typical promises of weight-loss and getting in shape. There will most definitely be reflection, introspection, and appreciation for all that is good in our lives. So call that old friend you’ve been meaning to talk to. Eat that delicious donut. Plan the trip when it’s safe to travel. Buy those diamond earrings that you saw in the jewelry store. Treat yourself. Just, enjoy.
Happy New Year, everyone. Stay safe. Be well.
Danielle Barber, Suna Bros.