How We Will Talk About 2020 In the Future

Will Leitch contemplates how we will reconcile 2020.

We will be dealing with the ramifications of 2020 for as long as we live. We’ve lost nearly two million people worldwide, 340,000 of them (and counting) Americans, and millions more have contracted Covid-19, a disease, I remind you, no one knows the long-term side effects of. Businesses have been closed, forever, and millions have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Children across the country have had their educations disrupted or even stopped all together; expect all sorts of Generation Covid” stories around 2028, about the generation that never got caught back up. And we have learned so much, too much, about how our country today, both its leaders and its citizens, reacts to moments of national strife. (It turns out that We Are Not All In This Together.) How do you put pieces like this back together? How do we ever go back to normal after this?

And more to the point: How do we deal with processing this year and what it was like to live through it? Future generations will look back at this year and conclude that we were all going through a collective trauma-induced psychosis. I have tried to remember throughout 2020 that everyone is under extreme stress, that every day is a challenge, that no one is at their best right now. Those viral videos of people having breakdowns are so hypnotic because we’re all living on that edge, day by day. We’re all just barely holding it together.

Only time will tell.

January 1, 2021


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