Like many others, the last few months have been challenging and filled with worry. Worry about my parents’ health, worry about my personal finances, and worry how missing milestones like graduation and starting college on-campus is affecting my daughters’ well being. I know things will never be “back to normal” for them in terms of the opportunities they’ve missed, but I also believe that “normal” is being redefined in new and powerful ways. that will create a better world for them.

2020 has shone a light on the way we work, love, play and think, exposing the weaknesses, injustices, and inequality in our systems and structures. There is momentum building for fundamental shifts in almost every area of our lives:

  • How and why we must move from “not racist” to “anti-racist”
  • Removing the stigma around caregivers (typically women) who adjust their schedules to accommodate work and caregiving
  • The idea that there is such a thing as “work life balance”
  • The fact that productive work is not limited to office walls and office hours

These issues existed well before coronavirus hit our shores – most of them arose because we were still treating jobs and workplaces the same way as when our workforce largely made stuff. The truth has been exposed: the old way of doing things is simply not appropriate for a diverse, modern, service-based workforce.

It Starts with Shining Eyes

I get excited about the possibilities – so much so that more than one person has told me I had “shining eyes.” My eyes shine because I believe 2020 brings with it the opportunity to reconsider just about every part of our lives. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. I know many people have and are suffering during this time and I wish this societal transformation could have started without so much. I cannot change that, but I can become an advocate for a kinder, more thoughtful world that embraces the rich diversity of thought and experience that exists.

Ending – and Beginning – with Hope

It is the end of 2020 and there is still a lot of uncertainty in the world. It is tempting to close my eyes, hunker down, and waiting until it all goes away. But that would mean turning my back on the chance to create a more just world. I am hopeful that we will continue to learn from each other, grow as individuals and a society, and do more to lift each other up.

I’ve been told I wear rose-colored glasses. I admit, I do tend to see the world optimistically most of the time. But I am not naïve. I see the world for what it is – the injustice and shortcomings – and yet, I still hope. More importantly, I am acting on that hope. Because we all deserve to have shining eyes.