Opinion: Level of care


Here we sit at the precipice of another year as 2020 wanes. Some might say good riddance. Others, probably quietly, took great advantage of the previous months and are unhappy to let them pass. For the introverts, a little less water cooler talk is welcomed. For the extroverts, the daily performance art that is the protracted Zoom meeting is a joy. There are those who love the time at home – day drinking is harder to pull off when “officially” on the job. Household chores are attended, and commuting is a thing of the past.

But also, there are those who suffered their partner’s “harmless” afternoon “just to make it through that last Zoom” beer that led to six more and a drunken night of abuse. Too many face being evicted because carry-out doesn’t replace the lost shifts and tip income. A few mourn the death of family or friends, from COVID-19 or from other causes, and will long regret that they were unable to hug one last time and say goodbye.    

Regardless of the perspective, time marches on and this rotation of our planet around the sun is about to culminate for all. Yet even as 2020 spins off, its reality marches on. Dec. 31 is only a made-up day on a made up-calendar (the Romans fought over who were the namesakes for the longest and most coveted periods of the year). With each day bringing more light, are the darkest days now behind?

Can we feel empathy for those near us most suffering while still celebrating our own improved condition? Will we be amongst those who survive (and even flourish) during winter? If so, can we reconcile the disproportional effect of it? Or is it more likely that we don’t really care as long as we come out on top?