Say Goodbye to “The Year of the UN” and Usher in a Brighter 2021

Are you old enough to remember the 7-Up commercials that premiered in 1968 and aired consistently for over a decade? They touted the soft drink as the Uncola. Un — a prefix meaning (1) not, (2) lacking, or (3) the opposite of — was used to help 7-Up compete against Coca-Cola by emphasizing how unique a product it was. It was not a cola. It was lacking caffeine, which was marketed as an asset. It was as opposite Coca-Cola as it could be. 7-Up was able to use the uncola moniker for one very solid reason: it met the requirements for the use of the un prefix. I believe all three of the un definitions apply to the past year because it was (1) not like preceding years, (2) lacking in so many ways, and (3) the opposite of what we have been accustomed to. I am, therefore, designating 2020 as “The Year of the UN.”

Can we begin by agreeing that 2020 was unlike any other year in our collective experiences and one that we all hope is unrepeated? It’s nearly impossible to recall that the year didn’t begin in an unusual manner. We were, on January 1, 2020, completely unaware that an unknown virus was about to be unleashed, and which would change our lives in ways unimaginable. The unbelievable was about to occur. Unbeknown to us, an uninvited, unwelcome guest was about to arrive in almost every country on earth. An unseen germ would cause untold damage to millions of unsuspecting humans. Uncharted territory was about to be entered.

Even as Covid19 became the top story in world news, many people were unaccepting of what was occurring, unwilling or perhaps unable to admit vulnerability. Yet vulnerable we were. The pandemic struck and affected us in unexpected, unprecedented, unfathomable ways. Restrictions and regulations varied greatly depending on location, but no one remained unaffected. Telecommuting became the new norm for a great many, while for others unemployment led to undue financial hardship. Anyone who continued to work outside of the home faced uncommon concerns. Schools closed temporarily, and many remain unopen to students and operate solely via virtual learning. We were advised to not interact with those outside our ‘bubble’ while unmasked. Keeping six feet from others literally made us untouchable. It became easy to feel isolated and unsocial, leading to unhealthy emotional and mental states. Millions have become unwell and the most unfortunate of those have not recovered.

There have been moments — a great many moments — that felt unbearable. When the pandemic felt unstoppable and unbeatable. When it seemed as though the unpleasantness would never end. When a return to any degree of normalcy seemed unlikely.

We cannot undo what has been done. But we have turned the page on 2020. Let us greet 2021 with optimism and hope. Let us face forward and step into a new year that holds opportunities for change, and which offers the promise for a better today and an even brighter tomorrow.

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Donna Dangle

I am a healer, a spiritual teacher, and a shepherd guiding clients at Body & Soul Shepherd, LLC to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.