Richard, 51, Heidelberg, Germany

It’s 7 am. The last day of the year. I drink coffee and smoke a cigarette, obligatory and routine, like every morning. The last 355 days suddenly trickle through me.

Everything we believed to be a given, not actually natural to be there all along. What a feeling. A little intense. But standing here in the cold morning, still with comfy home dress (worn sometimes for days, I won’t lie), there’s a shimmer of hope, always hope, like a science fiction hero, always looking into the horizon. Perhaps a bit dramatic – it’s fanboy stuff.

I also feel a little sick. I think the milk was bad.

Later, as I walk the young Beagle girl, and my patience always at test as she sniffs every millimeter of the ground, with the sun indeed coming over the horizon now, I reminisce about the past year, all the emotions that were involved, and the knowledge I have acquired about myself and others.

Grateful. Stingy and spoiled and stubborn. Sadness and frustration. Depression, but desperation. Anger (pure rage) and guilt. Betrayal. But also joy and laughter about the little things. 

Humor is always ready to jump in, almost as if a clown is standing by. But it’s yourself dressed up as one. Dangerously close to foolishness.

And, of course, love.

Above all this, a wave of uncertainty. Will the vaccine really work? When will I receive my shot? Is there still a chance I will get a positive result before it’s over, if it’s ever really over? (I was tested once in ’20 with a negative result.) Will things actually return to normal? What the f— is normal, anyway? Were we wrong about so many things all along? Is it maybe time to rethink and reimagine things? Our way of life? To think and behave on a more global scale and as a visitor on this planet, rather than sinking in selfishness, using up resources Earth will never regenerate at the current rate we are going?

Will America, the blueprint, the experimental idea, of a global community come back together again (if it ever was)? Can it heal itself? Can a new president help us do this for all?

Lastly, as I write this last paragraph on the evening of New Year’s Day, the leftovers of yesterday being prepared for a second round (Raclette), and after another long walk in the mountains this afternoon (with some snow at our hour-drive destination), I wonder what ’21 will bring, if all our hopes and dreams are maybe just too big to enjoy a little happiness. Or if it’s still okay to peek into the horizon, once and awhile, drinking bad milk and probably in need of a shower.

Share your 2020

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