Goodbye, 2020. Good riddance, more likely. We had such high hopes for you—you were supposed to be this shiny new year to start off a new decade. Why did you let us all down so completely? It was as if you were a brand-new car, but when we drove you off the lot we got into a crash, and you were never the same after that. By March you were totaled, but we had to keep on driving you around anyway, because we didn’t have anything else to get us where we wanted to go.
In my first essay of this year, I waxed eloquent on the raging debate as to which year was the actual start of the decade. Some people claim that counting begins with one, not zero, so the Teens ended with 2020 and 2021 is the first year of the Twenties. I took the other stance, that the decade begins with 2020. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe 2020 was the last year of a bummer of a decade, and the Twenties will be all shiny and new come January 1, 2021.
On a personal note, I was especially looking forward to 2020 because it marked my 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years of marriage is a good long time — it’s something to celebrate. Our anniversary is on January 20th, so technically we got to celebrate before the world fell apart. But our master plan involved a 30th anniversary year, with travel planned for some time in the summer. Nope!
Speaking of Jan. 20 —a word to the wise. When you’re planning your wedding, think carefully about your anniversary date. Jan. 20 is generally not a good date for a wedding anniversary. There are too many conflicts. It’s very close to Christmas, so all your gift ideas are gone and there’s nothing left for an anniversary gift. It’s also likely to conflict with the Super Bowl, so instead of a romantic candlelit dinner you might spend your anniversary eating Super Bowl snacks and rooting for the home team. But worst of all, every four years Jan. 20 is Inauguration Day. It’s written into the Constitution in the 20th Amendment. Every fourth year, someone will throw a massive party on your wedding anniversary, and you won’t be invited. According to the law of averages, you wouldn’t even want to be invited to half of them.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The inauguration doesn’t happen until January 20th, 2021. By that time, 2020 will be history.
We all have high hopes for the year 2021. It’s got to be better than this past year. But after everything we’ve been through, we need some reassurance. Okay, 2021, we want to see some New Year’s Resolutions!
Top of your list should be, “No more killing people.” That’s non-negotiable. In terms of the rest of the list, you could offer to increase the fortunes of all of humankind or pledge that rain may never fall till after sundown, like in the musical Camelot. If you want to go with mutations of nature, how about a nutritious plant that grows fast enough to feed all the hungry people, or a microbe that scrubs pollution from the air and reverses global warming. Those are resolutions we could get behind, 2021.
I’d be happy to promote you to the first year of the decade if you’re willing to come through for us. We could use a kinder, gentler year. We’re counting on you, 2021!
• Peggy McKee Barnhill is a wife, mother, and author who writes cozy mysteries under the pen name “Greta McKennan.” She likes to look at the bright side of life.