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20 Good Things That Happened in 2020

As the year that felt like it would never end comes to a close, we must acknowledge the good that kept us going. In a disastrous year full of unimaginable loss and heartache, we sought silver linings. This article is not to minimize the harsh reality of this incredibly challenging year. Many are grieving. Many are struggling. In all of the sorrow, we can find strength in gratitude.

Thankfully, some good things did happen this year. Although painful in many ways, quarantine brought bonus time with family and time to find new hobbies. For those who went it alone, this time offered independence and “me time” that we often lack. These silver linings will not apply to everyone, and they will not heal the pain. Yet, we can use these little bright-sides to keep our eyes fixed on the sun.

1. A global health crisis plagued humankind, and scientists worldwide came together with unprecedented speed to study the virus and manufacture vaccines that prevent the disease. Thousands of people aided scientific breakthroughs by volunteering to take experimental vaccines.

(Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

2. We learned to appreciate the working professionals who keep our lives going. Appreciation bloomed for postal workers, grocery stockers, teachers, farmers, and Instacart drivers, to name a few.

3. Many of us feel isolated in our social distancing, but many have grown to value relationships more. We have grown closer to our loved ones, and we have learned how valuable human connection is.

4. Our ability to adapt to new technology proved that we can alter our lives and create a new normal. For some, Zoom calls and working from home will outlast the pandemic. Many people who could not use FaceTime are now changing their Zoom background to show themselves in Space while video chatting with their grandchildren.

(Kay Scanlon / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

5. The fight for racial equality gained strength as people united to stand-up against our country’s racist systems. We are beginning to see reform due to the persistent protests and calls for justice. The horrific murder of George Floyd led to an outpouring of change-making protests. The loss of George Floyd and the corruption of our justice system are devastating and in no way good. The supportive response of the masses working for reform is creating good.

6. We are discussing equity more than ever before as we see mutual-aid thrive. In America, asking strangers for money has been stigmatized; however, there has been a shift to supportive crowdfunding.

7. A record number of Americans turned out to vote in our national election.

8. Black women led the nation in voting for president Joe Biden, with 9 out of 10 of their votes going to Biden. Beyond voting, Black women like Stacey Abrams rallied their communities to cast their votes. These Black women helped elect America’s first female vice-president, first Black vice-president, and first Asian American vice-president, Sen. Kamala Harris.

Stacey Abrams waits to speak at a Democratic canvass kickoff. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

9. Americans began to reckon more honestly with their racism and racist history. Mississippi replaced a flag that had featured Confederate symbolism. Congress voted to rename 10 Army installations that honored Confederate generals. NASA named its headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, the agency’s first African American female engineer.

10. More people are taking the climate emergency seriously. News channels are finally being honest and attributing climate changes to our climate crisis. China is pledging to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. Carbon dioxide emissions declined as the shift to renewable energy sources gained traction.

Lighter wins

11. The internet erupted with a collective appreciation of Tiger King.

12. A 103-year-old woman beat COVID-19 and celebrated with a Bud Light.

13. The music industry created drive-in concerts, something we didn’t know we needed so badly.

(Courtesy of McKinney Performing Arts Center)

14. NBC's Starry One Night Only: The Best of Broadway Raises Over $3 Million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

15. Companies shifted to create needed products to fight the pandemic. Ford, GM, Tesla, and other automakers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices. Distilleries, chemical manufactures, and cosmetic brands started producing much-needed hand sanitizers.

16. Gen-Z took to TikTok to comfort the world with quarantine content such as the viral “bored in the house” song.

17. Female musicians showed up with new albums to raise our spirits. Some of these artists are Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Kehlani, Hayley Williams, Halsey, Selena Gomez, and Chloe x Halle.

18. Time indoors ignited a new found love for the outdoors. Americans are enjoying exercising outdoors more than ever before.

19. Pet adoption became so popular that some people were unable to find pets to adopt!

20. Restaurants shared their secret recipes so we can now make our favorite meals from home.

With bad times, there will always be some good. I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the good you experienced this year. How did you do well this year? Who was there to support you through this time? What activities comforted you? What inspires you? By practicing gratitude, we cultivate a peaceful mind and attract more good. Our minds may never be entirely at peace this year, but we can still try to find the calm in the storm.

Goodbye, 2020! Happy New Year!

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