It has been a tough year for everyone. Not just in Iowa, but the entire world has been faced with adversities we never thought we'd have to deal with in our lifetime. Maybe this is what it felt like when the Spanish Flu became a pandemic and the Great Depression put pretty much everyone on the same playing board. Every adult over 30 has seen what war or "conflicts" look like. Maybe they weren't affected personally, but they knew of it, and 9/11 changed the way we view terrorists and terrorism. We didn't feel safe anymore.
All of these things I mentioned happened and somehow we got through it. Perhaps we are even stronger because of it. I think that is why, when the pandemic happened, most people didn't panic. Sure, you will always have people who refuse to look at the facts and think everything is a conspiracy devised by those who want to end the existence of humans. But, for the most part, everyone did their best to work together to stop the spread of the disease.
No one was expect eastern Iowa to be hit with a derecho, or the gulf to be hit with two hurricanes one after another, and no one could foresee the devastation caused by wildfires on the west coast. Riots and protests broke out across the country, demanding that we all stop and think about what "Black Lives Matter" really means. PLUS, we have to deal with an upcoming election, where both sides are not holding back and even crossing some lines that shouldn't be crossed.
Jokes started circulating earlier this year about how 2020 is the worst year ever. We wonder, how can so many bad things happen in one year? If we didn't already have the pandemic and the derecho storm hit our community on schedule, we might have just seen it as Mother Nature having a bad hair day. But, since we are dealing with COVID, too, everything bad that happens is like weights being thrown on top of the pandemic.
It is all about perspective - how you choose to perceive it. We can play the victim and see these things as happening to us, or we can understand they are just challenges, and we can do our best to learn from it.
We are all going to change somewhat because of this year; I would be surprised if we didn't. But I don't think it's a bad thing. Maybe dealing with the pandemic will help us appreciate life and understand what is important. Maybe the storm helped us realize how blessed we are and made us more grateful for electricity, internet, and good friends and neighbors. Perhaps what is happening in the rest of the world helps us become more aware of which direction we really want to go in as a society.
I believe we are stronger because of the challenges we face. And while we don't get to choose what those challenges are, we always have control in how we choose to perceive them and how we react to them.