It is unlikely that there is even one person out there who is not incredibly happy to see the last of 2020. With several vaccines being rolled out, we are all anxious to get back to normal. Let’s think about a new normal.
By the end of 2020 a microscopic virus had infected 85,000,000 people, killing almost 2,000,000 worldwide. It was almost as if the world stopped turning. Businesses closed, many forever, and countless millions fell into unemployment, homelessness and near starvation. Untold numbers suffered depression and other mental illness. Social media was awash with fake news and conspiracy theories; some even spread by egomaniacal or clueless world leaders to further their own agendas. Wildfires in the US and Australia burned at unprecedented levels and even Siberia burned. We saw that inherent racism was still thriving; the mindsets of many hadn’t changed much since the 1950s. in many areas we became so overwhelmed with negativity that we failed to see the positive. And there was some, more than we might have realised.
Because of lockdowns many public agencies and others finally updated their online facilities. Think how much time (and stress) we now save by paying taxes, etc. online rather than in line.
Families reconnected instead of just passing each other at the front door. Children learned more about their parents and parents about their children, all while gaining a new respect for teachers. In our solitude, many of us picked up the phone, or otherwise reached out, to family and friends and had real conversations. A big change from just liking their posts on social media. Some of us even rediscovered old hobbies or found new ones, something time had not allowed for years.
We learned to appreciate, not just medical personnel, but some of those so often ignored. Cleaners, supermarket staff, delivery drivers. In 2020 delivery drivers and riders became indispensable; they all braved, out of necessity, what the rest of us hid from.
Those of us who managed to stay safe avoided, not just COVID, but flu, colds, all those other viruses that plague us every year.
Here’s a list of The virus-free scientific breakthroughs of 2020, chosen by scientists from the UK Guardian’s Science section.
We saw pictures of clean air in Mumbai and clean canals in Venice and our minds turned to Climate Change and cleaning our environment, a serious concern of most of us.
The philanthropic-minded gave even more than usual and some who had never given a cent in their lives were feeding hospital workers and the homeless. A kind-hearted friend of the author, who has always fed the homeless, decided one day to prepare a dozen meals and take for the staff of a COVID designated hospital. Within a month others joined her and soon COVID carers at two of Kingston’s public hospitals were getting gourmet lunches every day.
And let’s not forget, close to us, the overwhelming success of our first Virtual Annual Conference which had 650 attendees from virtually everywhere (except Antarctica)! Here’s a session that may inspire you to become one of those Actuaries Giving Back.
And to put us into an even more positive mind frame, what better than to start 2021 with a look at Australia’s amazing fireworks?
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