By Amy Stephenson

It is understandable that many of us want to turn a blind eye to 2020. But before we start blocking the year from our memory, maybe we can find a few positive takeaways.

Learning and pivoting

It sounds like we’re stepping into the future with innovations at every turn. No hoverboards in sight, although more than a few of us have embraced other technologies. Zoom used to be a sound effect; now it means work meetings or connecting with loved ones. Our vocabulary has other additions or adjustments as well: community transmission, super spreader, lockdown, crisis, racism, BLM. There were exposures to the inequalities marginalized groups face and the responsibility we all hold to break down barriers.

Getting creative

Less commuting combined with more family time has resulted in some new creative outlets. How’s your sourdough starter? Knitting project? Reading list? Any good Netflix recommendations? The sense of accomplishment from taking on a new project is exhilarating and sometimes tasty. Following others as they learn almost counts as live entertainment. Even the burnt bread or projects left half-baked taught us about ourselves and where our strengths lie.

Slowing down

Living through various stages of lockdown reminded us of how many hours there are in a day. Slowing down and taking things day by day certainly isn’t easy, but it is an important coping strategy we all had time to practice. We also learned how to make the most of a smaller world. We explored more of our own neighbourhood and saw the beautiful area we live in.

The good fortune of this community is not limited to the waterfront trail and a multitude of parks. We have also witnessed a network of people reaching out to support others. Some acts were more direct, like dropping off care packages to those in need or shopping for high-risk individuals. Other acts were a little less evident, from the sidewalk art reminding us to smile to the heartfelt nods and exchanges when out on yet another walk. Every gesture helped to lift our spirits.


The single biggest takeaway is as varied as each individual’s experience with the year. I hope, like me, you have bolstered your sense of appreciation and gratitude. The appreciation for those in our bubbles may have wavered at times but has ultimately shown us the value they hold in our lives. There may be bad news in every day but finding a reason to smile is a lifelong skill that 2020 has taught us all.