There’s no disputing that 2020 was a year to remember, or maybe a year to forget, depending on your perspective. One thing is certain about 2021, at first glance, it appears to be a year starting off with a cloud of uncertainty.
Uncertainty doesn’t necessarily have to be viewed using a negative lens. For this writer, it simply means that things that were going to happen over the coming year were previously easier to predict, and we felt had more control over what was coming. Now, we may not have those same feelings of control, but there are some positive indicators that we should take heart from.
Already there are some positive signs that the year ahead could be one of significant progress, healing, and inspiring resiliency. One of those signs is that there are vaccines, and they’re now being distributed. Another is that our levels of government have worked very well together, despite their political differences and partisanship. Locally, in our business community, there is a renewed sense of optimism about the future, as eight new businesses moved into the downtown last year and two more have moved in since December 1.
Maybe most importantly, we adapted to our collective situation by forming new partnerships and working together to overcome our shared challenges and to strengthen our community. By necessity, we were forced to be creative, and we came up with some clever ideas to both support our local business community, and to help residents feel a greater sense of connection to each other and pride in their community. This realization of the potential of our collective strength may be the single most critical takeaway for all of us as part of the pandemic.
Many of the new events and activities that were developed for the downtown over the past year, which have delighted residents and given them both opportunities to connect with the downtown and each other, is as a direct result of new partnerships. The community Christmas tree in Rotary Park, the Facebook Live tree lighting ceremony (with Santa, a story reading by Library Sue etc.), the Ho Ho Home Decorating Contest, the Pumpkin Trail, and so much more, all manifested as a result of breaking new ground by working together.
There are guaranteed to be some very difficult days ahead in 2021, but I feel more optimistic that we are now in a better position to handle what comes our way than we were twelve months ago. We showed ourselves that we can overcome, we can improvise, and that we can take a big hit, but we will remain standing. As my uncle used to say, “it may be cloudy today, but the chance of a sunrise tomorrow is 100%”.