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One Year Later: Finally A Light at the End of a Very Long, Dark Tunnel

[Image Credits: Unsplash, @BlessedFool on Twitter, Freepik, SomeGoodNews, Doug Mills for NYTimes]

It's been a hot minute. Actually, it’s been ~525,600 minutes since the WHO officially declared that the novel coronavirus had become a global pandemic. And now, even more deaths than minutes in the US in just one year alone (latest death toll from COVID = ~529K American lives, and exponentially more, globally).

To say this year has been tragic, heartbreaking, chaotic, unpredictable and volatile would all be understatements. The death toll, the loneliness in isolation, the trauma, the strain on our healthcare system, our local, national and global economies, the decimation of lives and livelihoods.

A year ago, we were fearing the worst, wondering how life could possibly continue under such dire circumstances. Now, a year in, those of us lucky enough to still be here know that it's not only possible to survive, but even identify ways to thrive in the face of adversity.

So, just because life didn’t quite go as hoped or planned, and at times may have bordered on the apocalyptic, let’s not forget that there have been little glimmers of hope along the way out of the tunnel, and more periods of sustained light now seem more within reach than ever before.

Just when we thought the world as we knew it would be ending, we, just like caterpillars morphed into butterflies, underwent a major metamorphosis as a society and grew our collective capacity for adaptation and resilience, even if it was forced upon us.

Consider that in the past year, we’ve managed to:

• Understand more about a novel coronavirus, and accelerate the development and distribution of multiple vaccines, rooted in major scientific breakthroughs, to curb its spread and most severe outcomes.

• Widely adopt masking, social distancing, increased hygiene protocols, and adapted products, services, businesses across industries, and our daily lifestyles to our ever-shifting "new normal"

• Become more creative in meeting our needs for connection, collaboration, celebration, and community support in quarantine, from Zoom happy hours, prom, weddings, milestone celebrations, donation drives, and new pop-up networks to chronicle the heroism and joy against the odds....

We also managed to:

• Pull off a safe, secure election and transition of power to a new, diverse, history-making administration in the US that believes in science, common sense, compassion, and promoting the greater good.

• Pass and sign a historic economic stimulus bill -- historic in scale, reach, size and ambition for providing a hand up for the most at-risk hard working American families, communities and small businesses -- most notably, designed to lift approximately 13 million people out of poverty and cut child poverty in half in one year alone.

• Inspire cross-sector and cross-company cooperation and collaboration to accelerate the distribution of life-saving vaccines and continue to accelerate the mass vaccination of all Americans to, finally “mark our independence from this virus” by July 4th, as Biden stated optimistically this evening.

So yes, we’re still in the tunnel, and there’s still a ways to go -- there is still much to be done, many questions still remain, and it may be a while before we return to a real semblance of “normal.”

But in our race to return to “normal,” let’s not discount the amount of growth and evolution we’ve all been through, and instead, be very intentional about how we proceed when we get out onto the other side.

With this new knowledge, and greater capacity for adaptation, flexibility, and evolution, we get to choose, who and how do we want to be in the face of adversity? How might we use these experiences to reflect upon how we might change for the better, the parts of our world that weren't serving the greater good?

• How can we, as a society, with eyes, minds, and hearts wide open, allow ourselves to emerge from this era of darkness more resilient, more connected, more compassionate, more fair, equitable, and just than ever, and always collectively moving and lifting one up towards the light?

• How can we best honor the last 525,600 minutes and over 529K+ lives lost?

Well, as the beloved song, "Seasons of Love" in the Broadway musical RENT suggests, we can start by "measuring in love," every day, of every season, from here on out. . . .

#OneYearLater #COVIDversary #MindfulResilience #Metamorphosis #MovingTowardsTheLight #SeasonsofLove

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