Editorial: Hope Remains in 2020

This year was dreadful.


And we say that objectively. 


It’s a sentiment that’s echoed in countless coronavirus trackers, in still-printing newspapers, in election debates, in town hall meetings, and in pained social media updates: 


2020 sucks.


We’re not looking for debate on this, and frankly, we don’t think we’d find any. An omnipresent sense of despair, carried by rising hospitalizations, decidedly unflattened curves, and debates over even common-sense measures, rages on.


We’ve learned so much and come so far, but we’ve suffered so much. We’ve lost or almost lost unimaginable numbers of our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our fellow human beings.


And we continue on, hoping against hope that we will not forget that every statistic, in every report, on every channel, belongs to somebody — somebody whose life changed in a way no one could have seen coming.


We carry fear and frustration and a tiredness beyond words. Even then, there’s something more.


Sometimes, although our worst feelings still exist, more positive feelings begin to form. Those moments where cute dogs, or new moms, or cute, new dog moms pass through our feeds haven’t stopped. 


Our mental health poses an entirely different battle in the middle of a pandemic, but, though still imperfect, our collective attention and support continues to increase. 


Online resources supplement everything from education to healthcare, and while institutional failings still exist, from education to healthcare, we’ve found a sense of urgency.


And in a year defined by a pandemic, multiple social movements, countless deaths, a heated election, and a total loss of normalcy, a sense of urgency is something to be grateful for.


It’s this sense of urgency that has, we think, finally made people wake up.


And isn’t it better to be awake, anyway? At the very least, we can say that. 


“2020 made people wake up.” 


They woke up to tragedy, sure, but they woke up to triumphs as well this year.


And what triumphs they were:


The rise of a generation taking control through social media and activism, the possibility for change through a new president’s actions, the addition of some pretty awesome movies and TV shows (C’mon, Tiger King? That felt like a fever dream, and we loved it), and even the return of some classic pastimes like drive-in movie theaters. 


No amount of happy moments erases the unhappy ones, but we still believe the opposite holds true. No one particularly needs a reminder that we’ve got to keep our spirits up. Except, and this is worth repeating, that maybe a reminder’s still worth remembering.


Even through the inundation of occasionally forced positivity we’ve been through these past few months, things don’t always click. We can personally attest to that. Though we all recognize that being hopeful is better for us than being hopeless, that thought is still just a thought. The prospect of changing ourselves, our mindsets, can feel impossible, especially when everything around us is changing as well — and so often for the worse.


Still, holding onto hope isn’t impossible. And finding hope doesn’t mean giving up on your angsty teen phase. It doesn’t involve changing yourself, so much as allowing yourself to evolve. 


This isn’t fortune cookie wisdom or an empty suggestion to “keep on smiling!”


We’re living this too, though our experiences aren’t the same. 


One way or another, this year is coming to an end. And despite the seemingly large amount of things that are different, things haven’t changed as much as they’ve needed to, and the problems we face still largely continue. We can’t ignore that, and we won’t.


The end of a year still means something, however. Ideas that seem incredibly distant to us now suffuse every resolution and prayer and dream for the year to come. 


We can’t say where this next year will take us. We can’t even tell you if it’ll be better. There’s only one thing that we —as jaded, and tired, and sad, and overworked, and isolated, and hopeful people— can tell you.

It’s very likely that we’ll be able to control almost nothing about 2021, except one thing: how we approach it.


No, really. 


Forget for a second that that sounds like tired old wisdom from a twenty-year-old book of reaffirmations, which were and are still wonderful, if a little dusty. The fact is, this new year’s coming, whether we like it or not. The feelings we hold onto, the preconceptions we can’t let go of — these and more will define the next year, however it looks, of our lives.


What works for you? What helps you reach where you want to be?


For us, it’s hope, and we believe there’s a good shot hope will be a part of your answer too. We can’t let go of this year. We must not forget the people we’ve lost, the struggles we’ve endured, and the tragedies that have befallen us. But as we hold onto all of these things, we have to make decisions about what else we carry with us.


Hope doesn’t erase despair, but looking for it anyway, trying to find it, remains a worthwhile challenge. 


With scientific marvels of vaccines, a new energy of belief, and even more (hopefully positive) change on the horizon, we encourage you to let in the most stubborn, intangible, and relentless force known to humankind.


Oh, you already know what we’re going to say. But even then, it’s still worth saying.


Whatever comes to us, let’s face it — with hope.


Happy holidays,

Your Editors-in-Chief