A look back at 2020

A little while ago, a friend of mine shared one of those Facebook memories from four years ago. Oh, those pesky Facebook memories. We’ve all seen and shared them this year; snapshots of birthday parties or family dinners or concerts or tropical vacations. Photos of ourselves that seem to be from another world, doing things we miss terribly with people we miss even more. Those have been hard to see.

But this memory was a bit different.

This was a video of two women who had composed a hilarious song about how terrible of a year 2016 had been and how happy they were that it was finally coming to an end. And, I suppose, 2016 was bad wasn’t it? The polarization of people’s world views had escalated to a degree that no one could have predicted after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Zika Virus was striking fear across South America, Hurricane Matthew rocked the Caribbean killing almost 1,000 people, beloved celebrities were dying left and right (David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, and Gene Wilder to name just a few), and, of course, a wildfire turned Fort MacMurray into an inferno, destroying whole communities and sending people fleeing for their lives.

So yes, I suppose 2016 had been a brutal one by our frame of reference at that time.   

But, by any reasonable standard, 2020 has somehow managed to up the ante, hasn’t it? So many people have lost so much, from loved ones, to livelihoods, to the health of their relationships. It’s been a lot. So much in fact, that I can’t even name off the top of my head any celebrity deaths… Okay maybe Sean Connery, but the loss of my favourite 007 was a big one for me. I guess the point is, those things that made 2016 such a bad year seem to pale in comparison. 

Because, despite those difficult events of 2016, there were still things we had that we’d taken for granted; the ability to go to a crowded restaurant or concert or vacation, to walk into a grocery store without wearing a mask, to throw a birthday party for our children, to give a friend a hug, or to celebrate Christmas with our families. These were all beautiful elements of 2016 that we didn’t even notice, we just sort of… had them. 

What we didn’t have back then was this 2020 perspective. 

I’ve heard so many people talking about how they can’t wait for 2020 to be over, and, since watching that video, it’s got me thinking: What things are we taking for granted this year? Of course, we all know that the clock striking midnight on December 31, 2020 will not miraculously make the things that happened this year disappear, but what joys do we still have? 

Hearing the song those ladies wrote definitely made me laugh, but not in the way they intended. It made me laugh at myself; at the thought that I’d had at the time: yeah, I can’t wait for this year to be done so things can get better. Kinda seems silly now, doesn’t it? It also helped me gain perspective; that the events of this year were difficult, but brought with them moments of joy, and love, and times with people I love who I cannot guarantee will always be around. Those months of full-blown lockdown meant precious extra time with my small children, it meant spending quality time together doing things we don’t do enough of, like board games and baking and walks outside, it meant being grateful for my home and my food and, oddly enough, my toilet paper; things that I so often take for granted. 

It also made me laugh because you just never know what tomorrow might bring. As David Bowie so famously said: “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.” 

And I think I can hear it. I’m trying anyway, but I just don’t know what the heck it’s saying yet. The world is changing and change certainly brings enormous opportunity. At every stage in human history, whenever the world changed, the people who were able to pivot and change with it found those opportunities and made the most of them. Those are people like James Watts, who improved the design of the steam engine so drastically that revolutionized manufacturing, or Steve Jobs, who transformed our entire world with the smart phone, and countless others who capitalized on opportunities born from the uncertainty of change. Maybe hearing tomorrow coming means to stop and listen to what those opportunities might be.

In Edmonton, those opportunities have been surprising. Especially in the world of real estate. Banks came along with incredible interest rates, causing a flood of first-time buyers and people who’d been considering an upgrade to leap on the chance to lock them in. Anyone with a home in the sub $500,000 price range who decided to sell were seeing tremendous activity, with well-maintained (and well-priced) properties going pending almost immediately. The excellent inventory and prices still reflecting the softer market we’ve seen these past few years have created extraordinary opportunities for new home buyers entering the real estate market, move-up buyers, as well as sellers ready to move on to the next stage, whether it be downgrading or whatever life has in store for them next. Those who are listening to this market are continuing to take advantage of opportunities these changes are producing. Even now as I write this, nearing the end of December and the year that was 2020, the market continues to stay active when in most other years, this would be a typically slower month for real estate activity.  

So, whether for better or worse, this 2020 perspective should help us to review the year behind us, find the joy and opportunities ahead, and to firmly grasp whatever we still have to be grateful for, even if we feel like we used to have a bit more. 

Wishing you and yours, a happy, healthy and hopeful year ahead. It will be, exactly as you perceive it to be. May you perceive it with 20/20 vision.    

Posted by Corey Sylvester on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.