New Year's Opinion

Finding hope at the dawn of a new year

A view of The Ha'penny Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin City. (Daniel Cleary/YJI)

DUBLIN – With hand sanitizer, social distancing, covid-19, George Floyd, President-Elect Joe Biden, Brexit and more, 2020 has been an unpredictable journey, which, thankfully many will say, comes to an end at midnight on Thursday.

It has been a bleak, difficult year. Many have lost their jobs. Many have been very sick. Many have lost loved ones.

In Irish, there is a ‘seanfhocal’, a proverb or old saying that goes ‘An áit mbíonn an dólás an sólás ina aice.’

Often translated as ‘every cloud has a silver lining,’ it means ‘where there is sorrow, there is solace nearby.’

The beauty of the Irish language is laid bare in its many ‘seanfhocail’ and I think this one can indubitably be applied to 2020.

There has been much sorrow in 2020.

As of today, more than 1.75 million people around the world have lost their lives from this deadly virus that has accosted us. The whole way in which we live our lives has been turned upside down and so many people have suffered.

Though 2020 has been a bad year for a lot of people, there is solace nearby that we can hope will be found in 2021.

But 2020 has provided solace also.

Up until now, our busy lives consisted of dashing from one place to the next. Lockdown gave us an opportunity to hit the pause button. We have had time to stop and take note of what is really important to us in life.

It is the little things.

Those precious moments shared with family, the memories made together, whether new ones made in lockdown or one we already had that we finally had to reflect on and appreciate.

This departing year has highlighted the truly important things in life.

If and when things return to normal, and with luck it will be soon, I hope we do not forget the things that we have realized in 2020.

I hope it will make us more appreciative of what we have, of those around us and of the incredible work that is done day-in and day-out, both inside and outside the hospitals, from doctors and nurses to cleaners, receptionists, haulers, retail staff and teachers.

As Robert Brault said, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.”

Daniel Cleary is a Junior Reporter from Ireland for Youth Journalism International.


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