An Open Letter to 2020
Thanks for the lessons, but good riddance
I’ve been thinking about how to properly say goodbye to you, and it’s taken me quite a bit of time to write this down. I think it’s because you weren’t like the years of my youth, the ones that blended into the others and aren’t at all worthwhile. You were memorable—and are proving to be the most memorable thus far. But I would be lying if I described our relationship as anything but toxic.
You took so much from me and everyone around me. You drained me like no one else that came before you. You accepted nothing but excellence in trying times. More often than I’d like to admit, I felt you kick me in the gut when I was already having trouble breathing. And through it all, you mocked me and dared me to take another breath. You demanded that I keep going, even when I knew with certainty that I couldn’t.
And all around me, you were doing the same to the people I loved and looked up to and wanted the world for. I saw their dreams and careers and passions end, all because you couldn’t be bothered to give anything back. You kept taking and taking, and it’s only with a little bit of luck and so much support that we all survived you.
You introduced me to so many horrors, the most frightening of which were sides to people I had hoped I’d never have to come across. I saw the worst in those I grew up thinking I could trust. Sure, I always had my reservations, but I never wanted to be proven right. The other years that past left me with doubt and made me question the true intentions of people; you were the one that showed me I was right to be so hesitant. Cynical and jaded as I am, I can’t say I was hoping for that.
But I guess the biggest lie would be to say that you didn’t teach me so much, too.
You taught me there’s more that I’m capable of, and that people are capable of so much good. You taught me what pushes a human being beyond their limits, and how important it is to take time to myself. I learned that guilt and responsibility are a driving force, but that hope is still the strongest of them all—I learned to never let that same hope go. You taught me what we, as people, are made (and should be made) of. You taught me that, if I look for it, there is a light, no matter how small, that casts the daunting shadow.
So thank you, but good riddance. I hope to never come across something like you again. Don’t worry; I’ll keep what you taught me close.
Art Alexandra Lara