Visitors dance in front of an interactive light and sound installation at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, in Athens. [EPA]
Every 40 to 50 years or so humanity is faced with a milestone and in many respects, 2020 was just such a year. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic changed our lives within a matter of a few weeks – for some much more than others. We have been faced with a situation we cannot easily explain or completely come to terms with.
It is still too early to make any predictions about the future and this is why we should not take for granted the eloquent statements of various friends or the prophecies of experts.
We humans are adaptive beings with short memories. So, it is too early to say for sure whether we will travel as we used to travel, whether we will work at the office or from home, whether we will keep the habits of daily family gatherings around a table, whether we will believe more or less.
Things that had started to change before the coronavirus have been accelerated by the health crisis. This is already evident in how we use technology in our daily lives, how we shop, how we communicate.
Our world was already changing and in a way that justifiably scared many people. The pandemic brought into sharper focus the inequalities, the anxieties of the middle class that does not feel so “middle” anymore, but also the growing dissatisfaction for democracy’s ability to solve problems.
As we welcome 2021, we thought it was an opportunity for a little reflection on what changed in our lives in 2020 and what we can expect in the new year onwards, from the world after the pandemic.
Of course, there can be no certainties in such a fluid environment. But we need to think about what we went through and what is to come.
This year’s festivities have been lonely for many people, different for all of us. We all want to see the back of 2020 once and for all. We all want to hug our parents and friends, to sit at a table without stress and restrictions.
The time for all this will come.