A Look Back on 2020

I think that everyone agrees that 2020 has been a truly different year in most aspects. It has impacted the lives of billions of people around the globe. Stress levels are at all-time high and the statistics on depression and anxiety are just shocking. I have not lived a year that had such a deep impact in people’s lives like 2020 did. Social media, and media in general, has severed the malicious purpose of scaring people and reinforcing the “if it bleeds, it leads” concept and kept us very well informed of everything that is going wrong in the world. However, this post is not about discussing what went wrong in 2020. It is just a holiday rant to remind us of all the good things in life that we need to shift the focus to.

Looking back at all the good things that happened in 2020 will help us overcome the great difficulties that we’ve faced, and still facing. I know it’s not easy. Coming from Middle-Eastern origin with a long heritage of negativity, I can assure you it’s not easy. Many great things have happened around the world that are worth mentioning. I’m not going to list all of them, obviously, but I need to mention a few. Nature, supported by the brave fire fighters, ended the Australian fires back in January. Humanity has come together to build multiple vaccines to end a global pandemic in a record time compared to the history of vaccines. Technology companies supported the world during the pandemic lock down and made it possible for millions of businesses to shift their work to online platforms, many of which were provided free of charge. People around the world showed unprecedented support to weaker communities and local small business during lock-down in many countries around the world. On a personal level, I look back and see more time to spend with the family during 2020. I see three cybersecurity certifications that I have achieved in only six weeks in 2020. I see 1 journal papers, 1 conference paper, and 1 book chapter published in 2020. I see a bunch of new people that I feel lucky to meet (although online) in this year. I choose to overlook the difficult other parts of 2020 to keep my sanity and mental well-being.

I’m not trying to say that this year was a great year. Because it simply wasn’t. It is just one of those years that we’ll tell our grandchildren about proudly. What I’m trying to say here is that how you feel about the tough times will not change what’s happening. It’ll change how you perceive these tough times. You can go through tough times stressed and overloaded with anxiety, or you can accept those tough times and make the best out of them. It is definitely difficult when almost all media around you is building a horrifying picture and magnifying the “the end is near” rhetoric. However, you can choose to filter-out bad news gradually and be able to live life one day at a time.

Finally, I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays and a great 2021 ahead!