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A look back at 2020 and ahead to 2021

It’s a weird Christmas this year.

To me,it feels like I’m living in parallel worlds and I wonder how many are feeling this way?

In one I am – like many – grieving over the astonishing number of deaths from the opioid crisis, the unending loss of our elders in long term care, and seeing so many experiencing long term trauma in slow motion…

And in the other? I’m baking banana bread, making stuffing,irritating my kids with mom jokes, and the house is full of more lights than we have ever had up at Christmas, to counter the long, dark nights.

If ever there was a year to be grateful for whatever small comforts we have, this is it. And the disparity between rich and poor has never been more evident.Throngs of people still shopping, those lucky enough not to have been impacted financially by pandemic measures, still believing things are what bring joy, and how you show love. But what happens when those ‘things’ are gone? That is the reality far more are experiencing this year…and many more will be driven into deeper poverty in the new year.

It is often said that power reveals true character, and I agree, but it is less often said that crisis reveals even more about a person. It was compelling and revealing to see how people reacted to what has been an unprecedented event for most of us. The hoarding and profiteering early on was no surprise. While humans are social creatures who tend to need community, we also know how self centred many are. If it’s not a problem for them, its not a problem, right? ( my biggest issue with people )

But in my own community, and I’m sure in others, within the first couple of weeks something beautiful happened.When the food bank had to close, another group quickly stepped up to make food boxes. A group was started to teach and mentor people on how to grow their own food,in whatever housing situation or space they had. A barter exchange started where seeds and seedlings were more valuable currency than money. ( I spent very little on my garden this year, and in stocking my pantry, thanks to bartering!)

And the people leading these initiatives, who rose up to make things happen? They were not politicians, except one. They were regular people who saw a need and filled it. We are, a community of resilient people who helped others become more resilient as well. Food security is something every person should have in a country with wealth like Canada’s.

Part of being human is experiencing the challenges life throws at you. Sometimes we are prepared for them and other times we are completely blindsided by a shitshow no one could have predicted. Resilience is the ability to withstand and adapt to life’s challenges but 2020 showed that many haven’t learned the skills to be resilient…the good thing is, that while some are naturally resilient, anyone can learn how to become stronger and better adapted to change and crisis. ( this is a good link to start with, to give you an idea of what I mean https://www.mentaltoughness.partners/build-resilience/ )

The groups and bartering taking place in my community that helped others enhance their food security I mentioned above, can be started where ever you are, even just in your own neighbourhood. These things can be done covid safely and growing food helped many develop a sense of purpose that also eased anxiety and fear. There is tremendous power in helping each other at a local one to one basis, even if its as simple as growing a bigger garden as I did, and sharing the bounty with others who aren’t able to garden. ( this is where I see an immediate need for more community gardens and public food gardens over flowers)

Having grown up in a very rural area in the north, I learned resilience at a young age-when you live in a rural area, if you aren’t resilient, you won’t make it. Its that simple. This helped in particular, with the isolation of limited social interactions through the early part of the pandemic. Playmates were far and few between on the road I lived on as a child and teen, and I was happy to explore our property and the woods around it, playing with salamanders and toads, alone. And I can’t help but think that while tech and devices have been critical to stay in touch this year, the intensive use of them in kids and youth isn’t helping to build resilience overall in the real world… and we need to think about how to foster resilience in our children and youth.

While I saw tremendous community building and compassion this year, there continued to be tremendous division on so many levels. It really was amazing this spring, to see how everyone in the legislature put aside politics to make the pandemic the priority, and the break from the partisan sniping across the house was a taste of how good government works. And while its definitely not necessary to be friends with those you oppose, there is something to be said for trying to get to place of putting people before partisan interests.

This pandemic arrived after a decade of the BC Liberals gutting social services that were not yet restored and it shows.This is why, while their job in opposition is to oppose, the opposition still rings insincere to many because of this sad legacy. It’s also why no leader, should have unchecked power. There will be a tremendous amount of work to be done and I hope after Christmas they really can work together, rather than continue bickering. This is why John Horgans counselling response I wrote of yesterday, was so disappointing.

Right now though, its Christmas eve and…It’s ok not to feel ok, and its also ok to find joy in difficult times.

For some, not having to deal with a giant family celebration will be a reprieve – I’ve heard a lot of people say its been a break not having to deal with so many expectations – but for others being apart is hard. For all you beautiful souls who have lost someone, my thoughts are with you.

How and where you are spending the next week through to New Years, don’t forget to reach out and check on those around you, especially friends and neighbours who are alone. And if you need help, if you need support, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are needed and wanted, and you do matter….and this too will pass, even if its impossible to see this right now.

The Foundry has resources for youth here https://foundrybc.ca/

And crisis and distress lines for BC are listed here https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/get-help/

Merry Christmas friends. 🙏 Thank you for being here when I feel drawn to write. In the timeless wisdom of Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem below…” joy was not made to be a crumb…don’t hesitate”

5 Comments »

  1. Thanks Laila, for your tireless efforts to bring truth to those prepared to accept it. It helps to to know we’re not batshit crazy – that someone ‘out there’ is prepared to tell it like it is.
    I sincerely hope that there is some good news ahead in 2021, but would not be surprised if it’s not just more of the same.

    I trust that you had A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and look forward to the hope that we’ll all HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2020, was and still is a fiasco. What should have been done was delayed or ignored, until it was too late. Political hubris and bureaucratic ennui created an almost uncrowned situation, until Covid was to be treated as a deadly viral disease.

    A long fight until summer, started taming Covid until, again, political hubris and arrogance, let this disease grow unchecked for 6 to 7 weeks, simply because Horgan’s NDP desperately tried to do to the BC Liberal Party, what they did to the NDP in 2001. There was no knockout blow, except for the public, which bore the brunt of Hogan’s malice and the public is still reeling from this ill conceived fiasco.

    The NDP’s election win came at a cost of over 200 extra dead, mostly seniors and certainly shows the NDP’s utter disdain of the elderly and the frail.

    Horgan, like Trump, seems absent except for well orchestrated photo-ops!

    As I write this, events down south grow uglier by the minute, with total Covid deaths surging past 338,500 deaths, possibly topping 350,000 by the new year!

    The American death rate is now1,020 per million and compared to Canada’s 390 per million, demonstrates that the USA has all but washed its hands of public health and is letting the chips fall where they lay.

    Now, in the USA, a new, domestic terrorism is spreading, with Nashville bombing and it is going to get worse.

    If 2020 was bleak, 2021 is going to make this year a cake walk.

    The taxpayer will have to ante up the cash that the various governments have doled out. Taxes will go up, user fess will go up, and new nastier taxes will emerge from governments too incompetent to actually practice financial restraint.

    This will be the Achilles heel for the NDP and combined with Site C and hugely expensive, yet next too useless, billions of dollars spent rapid transit that does not go anywhere, the public will turn on the party like they did in 2001.

    The big question for 2021 will be who leads the BC Liberals? Do they stick with Trumpian acolytes, or go back to the Social Credit coalition style? Or, and this must scare the NDP, reinvent themselves as a slightly centre right party, Green party? I do know this is being floated as I type this.

    I am 65 and receive a meager pension, but my wife works and our family bubble does not want. But………… I know several acquaintances around my age, in deep want as investments have been greatly reduced and and their small businesses have failed to survive 2020. Tonight two suppers of Turkey hash, complete with many veg and apple pies from our tree are being delivered tonight for our less fortunate friends. (We inherited a 30 pound bird from my sister in law which was originally for a family dinner but events changed that) who are not starving, but have increasingly bare cupboards.

    Here is the rub, both friends were not destitute but they have gone from incomers in 2019 of $80k to the CERB from March on in 2020, both have last jobs and with everything based on 2019 income and not 2020 needs, they have no cash and RRSP’s have been cashed to pay their needs today.

    Those singing sweet nothings in Horgan’s has deadened the NDP to the realities of the Pandemic and the Vancouver condo crowd, which now seem to control the party all with good public service incomes or pensions are oblivious to the real issues.

    2021, maybe the start long dark and cold trail of pitfalls and fiascos as the NDP’s march to oblivion in 2024. I also know that some very long time members of the NDP are also very unhappy with the Horgan/Meggs cabal and when the ship of state is in rough waters, it does leak and the stuff they tell me is nothing short of jaw dropping. (Hint: Site C, SNC Lavalin and Bombardier are all included as is yours, Norm’s and Hoberfeld’s blogs and more are all part of the gossip).

    I think the NDP will be living in interesting times in 2021.

    Have a safe and healthy 2021!

    Like

    • Horgan, well he’s just another cut out like so many politicians. Liars, spinners, and self serving bastards and witches. Even at the cost of lives. Same like Trudeau, and his important criminally negligent lot. Despite an extended air travel ban from Britain because of the highly infectious Covid Variant, air travel is not being banned completely except of course for absolute essential needs for awhile. God knows if and where this thing may have gone. The measures for air travel I believe are just not going too be good enough no matter what safety protocols are put in place. Have the nuts not learned. No all these rotten think about is the best political outcome.
      The country’s leadership especially the weak knee’s in Ottawa don’t care about our safety like that liar Trudeau likes to tell us. It’s all about themselves, These overpaid wastes of space don’t even know what the precautionary principle means or even care

      But yes, here in BC just look what our very own self absorbed leaders have done too LTC for just one example of negligent behaviour. Horgan’s Electioneering during this crisis proves what he and his people truly are. Even our very own false god and stubborn ice cold incompetent public health officer along with Dixy boy is just under the rock disgusting in my opinion for their lead part in the big LTC die off. Criminals the lot of them right up too Trudeau and his own.

      Like

  3. Joy to the world, Three Dog Night

    Jeremiah was a bullfrog
    Was a good friend of mine
    I never understood a single word he said
    But I helped him a-drink his wine
    And he always had some mighty fine wine

    Singin’ joy to the world
    All the boys and girls now
    Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
    Joy to you and me

    Liked by 1 person

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