Mercedes Barriga

Good Riddance, 2020

If 2020 was a year of indescribable change, then 2021 is surely a year of reflection—a reflection that’s painful yet cathartic for many like me, whose lives evolved. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when things began to shift, when our lives reshaped themselves to fit a growing hole caused by the pandemic.

“We’ll be back by April,” everyone assured us. We trust that we will be back. The class flutters with disbelief, their animated figures unable to focus on doing any work. My group mates–who I’ve laughed, learned, and grown with–turn to me.

They ask: “Do you really think we’ll come back?” Why wouldn’t we? Everything seems like a fever dream, with wide-eyed faces and disorienting voices. Perhaps I was optimistic, or I was simply afraid of what would happen if I wasn’t right. “Yes,” I respond. 

I’ve gotten sick of writing about and thinking of 2020. Good riddance, I say. So now, I’ll write this final reflection and dedicate it to you, 2020.

Though you tested millions of people around the world, changing their lives forever and mutated our ways of life, many of us are still here. I’m still here and I hate you. I hate you for what you took away from so many people. I hate you for separating families and causing pain. I hate you for making me look at myself and realizing how insignificant I am. How we all are in when it comes to the world and its whims.

I know it seems childish to curse at a number, at a figure of time, but I’m tired like most of us are. I’m still here. We’re still here. I don’t know what the rest of 2021 will bring, but can it really be any worse than what we’ve already been through?

We can survive as we always have.

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