End of Year Reflections

Student Commentary

By Janet Kimani / Staff Writer

2020. The year that will definitely be etched in our minds long after it has come to pass. The year of great loss: of lives, jobs, homes. The year of malady; mind, body, soul; and the year of conflict: social, political, internal. The pain we have collectively experienced has, in an unexpected way, made the world seem smaller; the human experience a bit more ubiquitous. We’ve all been in the same boat in one way or another. Different storms undoubtedly, but the same boat nonetheless. We all know what it means to be locked up at home, have our freedoms restricted, and not be able to see our loved ones as often as we’d like. We’re all familiar with that feeling of having to rely on our eyes to relay a smile, and the suspicion created by an unexpected cough from a stranger in an enclosed space. Suspicion, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty are all feelings that we’ve probably familiarized ourselves with this year. 

But then what? 

What will be the point of it all? A difficult, but necessary question. What will 2020 have made of you? The answer to this question: a call for deep and intentional introspection, and, I suppose, the point of this piece. What we make of 2020, the good and the bad, is to an extent up to us. Not that we necessarily have to make meaning of everything that’s happened- none of us really can. What we can do is try to pick up lessons along the way and grow from the pain and hardship that we have undoubtedly faced in varying extents.

Personally, this year taught me the power of the here and now. In more cliche but relatable terms: Carpe Diem! We bank so much on the future despite the fact that tomorrow is never guaranteed. So while you can: love now, laugh now, appreciate now! Additionally, for many of us, this year has also revealed the things that really matter in life: family, friends, a strong support system and good health. For the most part, it’s the people, not the things, that kept us sane this year. Hopefully, we now know where better to invest our time and energy for the future. Perhaps, the most salient thing I’ve learnt this year is that nothing lasts forever; seasons come and seasons go. Therefore, this too shall come to pass. History has proved that even the vilest periods came to an end: wars, pandemics, recessions. And just like this year is now coming to an end, so will the pandemic that has halted so many of our lives. There will be life post pandemic at some point or another, and if we’re lucky enough to make it to the other end of the tunnel what will matter more beyond what you lost, is what you gained.

Therefore, as 2020 comes to an end, it’s worth reflecting about how each of us can ensure that our pain will not be in vain.  

Janet graduates this December. We thank her for her contribution and involvement with The Matthew as a staff writer.