So first off, I know what you all are thinking, “What the fuck does the title of this post actually mean?” That’s probably a very good place to start if you are going to spend the time reading another one of my possibly ranty, really no point, musings on the past two years. With this title, I am trying to let you know that the post that is to follow is all my own thoughts and ideas on what the last two years were, but stemming from ideas and metaphors and other conversations I have listened to, that I agree with. What does that mean? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.
With 2022 coming to a close a lot of TV shows, radio shows, podcasts, YouTube Channels, and every other form of communication and entertainment I consume on a regular basis have been doing their annual wrap up looking back on the past year and one thing I have heard coming up over and over again in my circle of entertainment is that while 2020 was hard, so we thought, 2021 was really the more challenging year of the two. (That is the un-original interpretation my title was referring to and the basis for this entire post.) That got me thinking and that is completely true.
As I’ve listened to these conversations and discussions about this past year I’ve heard many different metaphors or examples to explain the past two years, but the one that makes the most sense to me or that has resonated with me the most is a car accident. (I’m not sure if this is all my own idea or if someone else made the reference and it stuck with me, but the car accident metaphor is the one I’ve latched on to and will run with.) For the past two years, we have been living through a horrible car accident and the physical rehab that follows.
2020 was a year that just happened to us, while 2021 was a year we could actively participate in.
2020 was the car accident that left us bedridden or maybe even in the hospital. The car accident that was 2020 de-railed our entire life. We no longer could work the way we used to, if at all. We couldn’t go out and do normal activities. We were stuck at home in our metaphorical beds or hospitals, and there was nothing we could do. We had to just be patient and wait it out. That was 2020.
In 2020 we were forced to stay home and do nothing (hypothetical nothing). We didn’t have much of a choice or a say in anything. The world essentially shut down for almost everyone and we all stayed home and learned how to exist in that setting. It was hard in a sense but didn’t really require too much from the individual meaning most options were taken off the table.
2021 on the other hand was the physical rehab of this metaphorical car accident. In 2021 we had to start putting in the work and learning how to start to live again. Although the pandemic was and is still raging, things started to open up again. Businesses started to open up again. Vaccines began to roll out and seeing people and socializing became an option and a reality.
Unlike in 2020 where we had no choice, but to sit at home and exist that way, in 2021 we as a society had to learn how to exist in society again. We had options and decisions to make. We got to be an active participant in 2021. We had to figure out how to re-enter the real world or at least decide if we actually were ready for that. Many people were finally able to go back to work.
2021 presented options. Re-enter society or stay home? Go back to work or find new work? Get vaccinated or don’t? Go to parties and events or stay in your own safe bubble? Go back to how things were or change?
Just like with physical rehab, 2021 was challenging and required us to make decisions and work hard (if we wanted to actually see changes). In 2021 we had to or at least had the option to make decisions and participate.
2021 was personally emotional and scary.
2021 was a lot.
Cover Image by NettoFigueiredo