“Penetrating, Intense…” – 2020, a year in review | The Daily Vulnerable

By Ado Aminu

Some of the most intense – both feel and repercussion wise, experiences I have ever had in my life happened this year. It is why when people speak about the year 2020 and how peculiar it has been, I get it, I get them. I  have been there.

But there is something not quite right about the conversations we have about this year – the language we use. 

It is almost always an iteration or other of, ‘trying year.’ For those are determined to affect faux positivity they go with, ‘eye-opening.’ I like to think neither does justice to the complex mishmash of experiences that this year has been to everyone. Although to be fair, that is what fear does to a person – it distorts reality. 

Fear was of course there, but what we should never have allowed was for it to distort our emotions so much that we are unable to see the bigger picture. Which is that there was joy, hope, laughter, and room to find people and places we love anew.

For instance, I found some of my happiest moments in April.

I was in lockdown with two people, one of whom was and remains dear to me before and since the lockdown and another who has since become dear to me. Witnessing them find joy in each other was my greatest happiness. I lapped it up like a hungry kitten laps up milk, and it was the most intense joy I’ve ever had from a secondhand experience of love.

When I think about sadness, I picture myself clearly on a particularly dark week in July. I was curled up on the floor of a room bathed in carefully curated darkness. My stomach was aching from the gin I drank all day on an almost empty stomach. I hadn’t eaten a proper meal or bathed for 3 days straight. I was fully begging death to come and take me away into its sweet embrace. It didn’t. The universe sent me healing instead in small doses over a period of 5 months.

This past weekend, I attended an annual event I haven’t missed since I first attended in 2017. The same anchor who hosted that day 3 years ago hosted this year’s. As we caught up post-event and spoke mostly about my life since 2017 I finally said something that had been ringing in my mind for months, “I feel like I’ve come full circle.” We both nodded an enthusiastic agreement. I was intensely happy.

I feel the same way about the year 2020.

January brought hope, which Coronavirus waltzed in and masked with fear. We danced with that fear through the lockdown, a fear that brought penetrating clarity to our everyday life, giving credence to the widespread belief that 2020 is an especially chaotic year. Now we have picked up the pieces and returned to hope for a better year. 

We went through it, but now we have come full circle. And if that isn’t worthy of gratitude, what is?

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