Bye-bye, 2020: No, seriously. Leave.

Amy Fenster Brown

By Amy Fenster Brown

We’ve all heard people saying, “I can’t wait until 2020 is over,” as if the changing of the calendar is going to magically erase everything. No question, 2020 has been a – your choice of  bad word goes here – of a year. Bleep that bleep.  

We’ve seen lots of good behavior and lots of bad behavior. Turns out, it is just as important to teach our kids the bad as well as the good. You can point out clear examples and talk with them about what they’ve learned. 

It’s hideous, however, that one of the main people they’re learning from runs our country. (Things won’t magically change Jan. 20, either. Sorry, folks.) 

The sacrifices, tragedies and traumas of this year have left me at a loss for comedy. My crutch of using humor as a defense mechanism is fractured. My ability to find the silver lining is still intact, but the shine of the silver has dulled. It’s kind of now just a lining. Boring.

This year was one of global warning. Mother Nature reached her boiling point, and she’s not having it anymore. She’s furious enough to demand a global reset. Mother Nature might be the ultimate Jewish mother, pulling over the car, putting a stop to everything, making us sit in our room with our hands in our laps to think about what we’ve done. Oy, the guilt.  (OK, maybe that was a teeny bit funny.)

So many things we looked to for normalcy or took for granted have morphed into weirder and weirder occurrences, like an epic science fiction tale. We’ve lost a lot and gained a lot. We’ve lost loved ones, normalcy, time together in person. We’ve gained pounds, slower routines and a new appreciation for the people in our lives we don’t get to see. Or hug.  

Is it possible 2020 was one of the best years of our lives? Hard as that pill might be to swallow, there are ways to look at the positives we’ve found buried deep below the negatives. 

I turned 50. Not with a party but with a drive-by parade of well-wishers, and an epic stunt in which my friends hired a company to cover my front yard in bras and a sign reading, “We support you.”

St. Louis Ballet ad

My younger son had his bar mitzvah. While it wasn’t anywhere close to the huge celebration we had planned, he pulled it off in an extraordinarily meaningful and memorable way.

My older son started high school, from our home, earning amazing grades and an impressive performance on the school’s soccer team. (Yep, we can’t go to school, but sports is still happening.  Don’t get me started.)

My husband excelled at, well, everything because that is who he is. Working from home meant spending tons of time together. He had one of the biggest successes a wife could witness:  accurately completing grocery shopping without calling me to ask questions. Not once, but twice. Back off, ladies, he’s all mine. (More comedy. I’ve still got it.)

We all faced adversity, often in ways we might never have imagined. Yet here we are, surviving those things we thought we never could. I’ll say it again: Whatever you thought you couldn’t survive, you did. 

That doesn’t mean it’s been rainbows and sunshine. Plenty of it is still tragic and traumatic. And you survived. You’re not a victim. You’re a survivor. 

We can measure 2020 in who we were and who we are now in response to all that has changed. Moving forward, we think about who we will become as life continues to change. 

As we bid 2020 farewell and good riddance, maybe we should be thankful for a year that helped bring us all back to basics, revealing who we were all along. 

Monthly columnist Amy Fenster Brown is married to Jeff and has two teenage sons, Davis and Leo. She volunteers for several Jewish not-for-profit groups. Fenster Brown is an Emmy Award-winning TV news writer and counts time with family and friends, talking and eating peanut butter among her hobbies.