In December, we asked people to share personal stories of their experience in 2020. Here’s what they had to say:
A Wish for 2021
By Sam Henderson
Seasons Greetings Gulfport and Gabber readers!
It has been a long year. I am not here to talk about city accomplishments or policies over the past 12 months. In short, I will just say that I am deeply impressed with how our employees stepped up to the plate in a big way under serious duress, and that we made the best of our challenges. Thanks to all of you on city staff for navigating us through the unique obstacles of 2020.
Now I want to talk about us, all of us, the people trying to live our lives and make our way in this treacherous landscape. This year brought us the most active hurricane season on record, the most divisive and contentious presidential election since 1968 and of course the first global pandemic in over a century. We lost loved ones, jobs, homes, personal connection, the freedom to travel and congregate, and for better or worse, the routine of our daily lives. This year tested us. I am not under the illusion that 2021 is going to be a bowl of cherries, but we enter the new year smarter, tougher and more prepared. At this point, it will take a lot to surprise us. I hope that we go forward with a new understanding of how fragile our lives, our cultural constructs and our society truly are – facing the future not with fear and contempt but with compassion, cooperation and a sense of duty to each other.
I hope that these trials make us better, kinder and more capable people. So for me, I want to say goodbye to the worst of 2020 and hold on to the wisdom that came from it. In New Mexico, they have an annual tradition called the Fiestas de Santa Fe where they burn a hideous effigy named Zozobra – a symbol of the past year’s gloom, pain and worries. People write down their own troubles and add them to the blaze. We were in Santa Fe many years ago during this festival and it struck me as a beautiful way to clean the slate. My family will do a scaled down version of this on New Year’s Eve, and toss our paper into the fire – to manifest the desire to see our troubles go up in smoke. I hope you will all find your own unique way to hold on to the good, the joyful and the hopeful aspects of this past year, and to vanquish your version of Zozobra. Happy Holidays one and all, and here’s to fighting the good fight together in 2021.