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4 Good Things That Happened in 2020

There isn’t any modern year in history that’s impacted the world as monumentally as 2020. While it’s easy to get caught up in the difficulties, grief and sadness of the past year, there are also reasons to stay positive. There are many good things that happened in 2020. You just have to look for them.

This isn’t to say you should ignore what’s happening in the world around you. From a business perspective, there’s been a continual need to pivot in the face of closures, restrictions and other challenges.

As you’ve no doubt discovered, the plans you had both professionally and personally had to change in ways large and small. You don’t need us to tell you that. What you might need instead is a dose of good things that happened in 2020. 

Turning your attention to these positives has a way of tricking your brain into looking for what’s going right — instead of what’s wrong. Are you in? Then happy reading.

We Learned to Appreciate the Little Things

Before the pandemic, many of us moved at a breakneck pace each and every day. Taking time to smell the roses was a luxury we couldn’t afford. The hustle was more important than the need to slow down, pause and be still.

Forced to be home more, many of us discovered that being still isn’t simply a luxury; it’s a necessity. In the moments of pause, we experienced life. 

We waved hello to a neighbor from the front porch. We smelled banana bread fresh out of the oven. We discovered we can still exercise at home. Or we just got back an extra hour in the day to take a walk or read a book.

The good things that happened in 2020 revealed themselves as we peeled ourselves away from endless “busyness.”

Related: Reopening Your Business? 7 Social Media Strategies to Keep — Plus 1 to Ditch Forever

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We Rediscovered Family Time

Whether we were together at home with family or talking to them over Zoom or FaceTime, we got closer with the ones we love. We turned to each other to try and make sense of this uncertain time. 

We went to drive-in movies and concerts together. (By the way, drive-in movies made a comeback — as did puzzles and board games.) We cooked, played and worked out together. We talked to relatives on Zoom we hadn’t talked to in years. 

Parents who normally would be traveling frequently found themselves at home much more often. Kids who normally would be overbooked with schoolwork, socializing, sports and extracurricular activities found themselves getting to slow down, too.

Obviously we want to be able to find a healthy balance between time inside and outside the home. Kids need to be able to play and socialize at school. Travelers need to be able to vacation again or attend to business matters across the country. We all want some sense of normalcy to return, even as much as we want to hang on to the good things that happened in 2020. 

But the pandemic has allowed us to appreciate the people who have been there all along in new ways — right in our own homes. And that’s a shift worth hanging onto.

We Saw People Pull Together

While there’s no shortage of bad-news stories in the media, there are also plenty of good-news reports to share. The phrase “we’re all in this together” might feel overused at this point. Yet it still rings true.

Whether it was seamstresses or companies pooling resources to make masks, or distilleries shifting to production of hand sanitizer, both individuals and companies found ways to support their communities.

There’s also been a greater connection with the community, and nature, itself. As people spent more time at home, they also spent more time walking, hiking, biking and generally increasing their outdoor activity. 

United by a pandemic and the accompanying isolation that came with it, people discovered there could be joy in saying hello to a stranger on the street. 

There could be satisfaction in being kind, in doing the right thing, even without being asked. Even when no one is watching. Even when it’s the harder thing to do. 

Need more proof? See John Krasinski’s Some Good News.

We Confirmed That Not All Heroes Wear Capes

The heroes of the past year have come in many different forms, but some of them stand out as the ones who have truly saved us. Among the good things that happened in 2020, let’s never forget:

  • The frontline workers who have risked their lives to care for the ill
  • The teachers who have taught students over Zoom, and the parents homeschooling their kids
  • The grocery clerks who have worked overtime, dealt with customer service issues, and provided clean, safe spaces to buy our essentials
  • The delivery drivers who have brought packages and meals to our doorsteps
  • The food-service workers who have fulfilled our cravings for pizza, coffee and a really great margarita
  • The fitness professionals who gave us free home workouts or moved their operations outdoors to keep us moving
  • The scientists working as quickly as possible to find a treatment and cure
  • The musicians, artists, celebrities and other creatives who have kept us entertained
  • The pets, who have provided comfort, companionship and humor during dark times (it’s no wonder adoptions have skyrocketed in 2020)

Related: Boston.com readers picked their heroes of 2020. Here’s who they selected.

Stay Focused on the Good Things That Happened in 2020

Focusing on the good things that happened in 2020 is not intended to minimize anyone’s pain, loss, heartbreak or economic devastation. The harsh realities of 2020 can feel much more prominent for those people feeling sad, frustrated or frightened for the future.

Rather, turning attention to these good things is meant to help us find gratitude even in face of hardship. We can remember the lessons of 2020 and grow from the challenges, while also staying thankful for the silver linings that have emerged.

We hope that 2021 proves to be a better year overall for everyone. We hope that the good things that happened in 2020 will pale in comparison to the amazing things that are coming. 

In the meantime, let’s agree to keep looking for the good. After all, if you consider the alternative, it’s a no-brainer.

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