An Optimists View of 2020


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While 2020 was certainly filled with bad news, there were still plenty of reasons to stay optimistic about the future.

Conventional wisdom says that 2020 was nothing but despicable horrors and tragedies, piling one upon another into a monstrous mound of disaster, but beneath all those tragedies and missteps were some really outstanding examples of human ingenuity, resilience, compassion, humor, and promise for the future in 2021.

The year began with destructive firestorms in Australia. The outback and coastal fires destroyed 46 million acres of wilderness. Pushing koala bears on to the vulnerable species list, as well as, other mammals, reptiles, and amphibians found in certain portions of Australia. The infernos also decimated human families taking homes and possessions.

However, the flames were extinguished with foreign assistance traveling from all around the world. Communities are slowly being rebuilt, and conservation efforts are on the rise to recover needed vegetation and repopulate these earthen islands of fauna.

In Venice, Italy all-consuming floodwaters rose well above six feet and caused billions of dollars in damages to stores, homes, factories, and historic architecture. But in response, Venice has installed flood gates to prevent another flood of this nature from happening again.

Asian giant hornets, or murder hornets, were accidentally introduced to the United States in late 2019. These insects infiltrate beehives and will exterminate the entire colony within a few hours. But Congress passed a bill to spend $4 million a year to get rid of the murder hornets and so far entomologists have removed over a hundred hives and colonies.

Also on the positive side, we experienced some really outstanding astronomical events in 2020. On June 21st and December 14th two separate solar eclipses took place casting the world into the shadow of the moon. On October 31st when we celebrated Halloween there was a full moon illuminating the night sky. This specific Halloween moon only happens every twenty years.

On the darkest day of the year, the Star of Bethlehem was visible from earth. The star of Bethlehem, or the Christmas star, appeared for the first time since 1623.

Also looking toward the stars, in April the Pentagon released three videos and confirmed the recording of several unidentified flying objects. The UFOs show feats described as “defying the laws of physics” with their quick maneuvering. Proof of alien life? Maybe.

While over a million people have died worldwide either directly from or in combination with prior health ailments from COVID-19, the scramble for a vaccine set a record for the fastest vaccine was developed for a disease, over four times faster than the previous record, the mumps vaccine.

In the world of entertainment, one of this year’s biggest hits was the Netflix crime documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” dove into the wild world of big cat owners and enthusiasts. This television series entertained millions of Americans while they struggled to deal with the restrictive homebound confines of quarantining and home lockdowns.

It also shed light upon the world of the big cat aficionados, cult leaders, and smugglers. The star of the show was properly arrested for allegedly hiring a hitman to remove his rival Carole Baskins and violating both the Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act.

photo of road with potholes
Photo by Kenneth Allen. Used by Creative Commons license from

The year 2020 could best be described in an image, an image of a Pennsylvania back road filled with potholes.

The view looks the same in the past where we came from as does the immediate future: desolate, destroyed, unforgiving, and hard. Yet, if you pick your journey around life’s pitfalls as you would drive around potholes, your advancement will be slowed, but the path untaken can provide easement, comfort, security, and patience.

Many people lost their lives this year, but death is a part of life that will always be with us. The scale for measuring a year should never be what went wrong solely, but also include what happened to make things better and provide an honest weight to balance the scales. The year 2020 did just that.