LIFE MATTERS: 2020

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By Dr. Dennis Acop

There is no question in everyone’s mind that the year just passed was one for the books. A deadly pandemic has a way of revolutionizing life as we know it. It feels strange that just in March I was still Down Under with my grandsons contemplating familiar plans for the future. Only to face forced isolation upon arrival in Manila and what became months of self-exile and social distancing. Then just as suddenly as it had appeared, 2020 slipped into oblivion as many prefer to characterize it. Away from a world that is beyond itself welcoming 2021 if only for the promise it presents. Even if the reality is that COVID-19 has not fully left. And that humanity is only just beginning to go on offense against a virus that put it on the defensive for most of the year. Nevertheless, we really have no choice but be optimistic about the future, right? I am optimistic about the future. And before we talk of 2021, let us first review 2020 — perfect vision of a world turned upside down.

Lots of revolutionary changes happened in the year of the pandemic. Travel was halted. People kept to their homes. Work from home became the norm. Meetings were held online. Only essential services and transactions were allowed outside. Even worship had to be done virtually. Electronically operated businesses flourished over traditional ones. Might was not always right in the year of the virus as even huge corporations, unable to sustain equally gigantic operating expenditures, folded up. Innovative, smaller enterprises filled the void from the vacuum created finding their niche in a constantly changing market environment.

Small unit operations and tactics have become the new strategy. Huge corporations have collapsed in favor of many smaller organizations whose structure, creativeness, and delivery are more innovative, resilient, and flexible. More with less is the new normal as processes now tend to go with minimal resources but maximum output to keep operating cost in check and still have the bottom line to stay afloat. Surviving the pandemic has initiated the habit of minimal staff and less density from social distancing but it has also begun human creativeness in pockets of people than conglomerates. And life has gone on despite these changes from what seemed like doomsday scenarios at the beginning of the pandemic.

Even the bad side of town found innovation welcoming as a way to survive the pandemic. I just participated virtually in the latest global conference of preeminent security organization ASIS and the renowned speakers there talked about how the world’s cyber criminals find ever creative ways to hack into softwares and databanks to steal money and trade secrets. Much of the world trade volume of goods and ideas are now online and cyber criminals know this. Patterns of people and businesses are all stored in computer data banks and a superior hack can easily do the trick if criminals are keen on the job.

I would also say that people have become more spiritual thanks to the virus. It almost feels like the Creator of the universe has allowed an agent to be unleashed upon the earth to cleanse it of its dysfunction away from being ordered to Him. For the creature to realize that he is not a god but merely a created. To show man who the real power is. In the face of annihilation and suffering, man has once again revisited the meaning of his life. Realized the desire to be emotionally happy than materially gluttonous. To make wise use of his limited time on earth. To change his ways for the better. To humble himself and pray. To love his neighbor as himself. And to understand that in loving others, he is actually loving God.

Because of 2020, 2021 is indeed very promising. Nothing has happened yet in this new year but people already feel it is a good year. Because it is no longer in 2020. People would much rather prefer the imperfect sight of the year ahead than the perfect vision of the year past. Still, I prefer to see 2021 as a logical continuation of 2020 in terms of the evolution of change already began. A change that would not be one if it is not for the better. Many people realized what shouldn’t be in 2020. So many saw what they would rather do if given a second chance in a healthy world. Some have stopped hating. Others found love. If any, the greater good was clearly emphasized in the year that was. From all indicators, it would be another Cinderella story for the world. Indeed there is a God. And it is all good.

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