Publisher’s Letter: As 2021 Approaches

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

I don’t know about you, but I had such high hopes for 2020 — it just seemed to have a nice ring to it — it bespoke clarity as in good vision. Did it deliver when we didn’t even realize it? Did it point up the things that matter and all but eliminate the things that don’t?

Before the pandemic stopped us in its tracks, so many of us were on a treadmill from which it often felt like we couldn’t get off — commuting to work, sometimes working long hours, taking one kid to soccer, the other to basketball, rushing home to make dinner — the tasks seemed never-ending. Of course, the bills kept rolling in.

And then, it just seemed so sudden. Most activities came to a halt — restaurants were mandated to close. And then the schools were shut down, and the kids were at home — all the time! And we had to scramble to figure out how to help them do their studies remotely on their computers while still juggling our jobs, that is for those of us who were lucky enough to be able to work from home.

What some of us were surprised to find was that mandated to be working from home, minus the commute, we suddenly had more time and certainly more time with the family. With sobering reports of how the virus was ravaging various parts of the country and hearing about people who had lost loved ones, many of us held our own loved ones tighter as if we could magically protect them from an illness that, at first, was little understood.

As we face a new year, there is cause for hope. A vaccine has been developed in record time. Previously, the Mumps vaccine was considered the fastest in development — and that took four years. So when we consider that a vaccine for Covid-19 has been developed in less than a year, it seems quite remarkable. And for the folks who aren’t exactly eager about taking the vaccine, I don’t think they have to worry about its safety. By the time it gets to the main population after first being administered to first responders, and most at-risk people such as the elderly, so many people will have gone before us that we will have time to observe the results. And no doubt, those results will be on the news daily.

Another thing some of us may have to look forward to is that working from home has worked quite well for several industries. In the future, even when the public health risk has abated, many workers will not be required to be in the office all week. Working from home at least part of the week may become more the norm. In recent months many people have adapted their homes to function more efficiently as offices, making them more pleasant to work in.

If working from home becomes routine, think of the relief to the environment from fewer cars on the road, less wear and tear on your vehicle, gas saved, and additional hours found in the week. And just maybe, when the kids return to school, they won’t be so over-scheduled and permitted to do more fooling around and experimenting like kids used to do years ago — left to their own devices, they may become more creative.

From the year we’ve just lived through, we have been forced to learn how to navigate uncertainty with a reasonable level of calm. And as 2021 appears on the horizon, we are more than capable of making it our best year yet!

Stay Safe! Stay Well!

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