When Hindsight is a Different Kind of 2020

My Dad used to say that “hindsight is 20/20” and he wasn’t wrong.  Sometimes, it was said in the context of the ease of Monday morning quarterbacking; other times, it was more about the reality of knowing something now that wasn’t known then.  At its core, it’s a reminder that we can only do the best that we can when facing a situation, something that isn’t always easy.  But, yet, in the automated, analytical, information-overload world that we live in, we are often left to wonder how we didn’t see something that was right in front of us all along.

As we begin a new year, the past 12 months can represent a time for reflection, as we contemplate the way forward.  This year, it has been particularly difficult to do so.  What are some of the things that we should have known?

That loss impacts everyone, and it is tragic.

That our wellness influences everything, including our ability to live, work, travel, and generate economic wealth.  When we are not well, we, and those around us, suffer.

That bias exists; be it gender, race, ethnicity, beliefs, or something else.  It is unfair, unacceptable, and it hurts.

That science understands our world in ways that many of us cannot pretend to comprehend, but is integral to our survival.

That a pandemic, fueled by the tiniest of “bugs”, can stop the entire world in its tracks, with devastating result.

That truth matters greatly and is powerful, while fear and dishonesty are harmful and divisive.

That a team is only as good as its weakest link, and when people are not onside, everyone feels the result.

That an act of kindness, however small, can turn a person’s day around, and it is contagious, in a good way.

That it takes all kinds of people, roles, and jobs to make the world go round; all are of value, and who the real “heroes” are can be surprising.

That leadership and independent thinking require courage, but represent the right path, in the end.  Following without conscience leads to undesirable places.

That something that happens on the other side of the world can turn companies upside-down and take away their future, while well prepared businesses have the best opportunity to withstand the unexpected.  The same is true for people, families, and governments.

That, while we can be fearless and “run with the big dogs”, there are still some who will try and make us feel small.  That’s on them.

That hate exists, even after all of these years of living together on a planet that we all call Home, despite having the power to change it.

That the air we breathe, water we drink, and sunlight that warms us are miracles that sustain life and require our care in return. The “check engine” light is flashing.

That the massive gap between wealth and poverty does not bring humanity together.

That people are social creatures, and living at a distance from one another is really, really difficult, especially for some.  We can be lonely in a world that is more connected and isolated than ever, all at the same time.

That mental health impacts everyone, and all that a person has (or doesn’t have) does not change this.

The fact is, the year 2020 reminded us of lessons that we already knew.  Perhaps, the world was so busy living life that many of these realities had been forgotten, until 2020 came along and changed everything.

On this Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s remember the importance of mental health, especially in the midst of what have been very difficult times.  Realize that, although mental health touches us all, it can do so in different ways.  People who might be regarded as “better off” or less impacted by COVID19 can be confronted with stress and anxiety just as much as someone who works on the front lines.  Those who have a job can be just as emotionally challenged as someone who has been out of work and is receiving financial support, albeit in different ways.  The important thing is to recognize this reality and do what we can to help one another.

Although the year 2020 might be in the rearview mirror, we should remember the lessons of these past 12 months.  We are reminded that hindsight is, indeed, 20/20, but perhaps, we needed the year 2020 to truly understand the meaning of these words.

If you need help, please call 911 or access resources here.  Remember, you are not alone.

Jenifer Bartman
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