2020: A horrible year, yet one that taught us so very much …

The easy thing to do is to say 2020 was a horrendous year. You probably wouldn’t get too many strange looks if you said that in public. And despite the toll this year has taken on all of us, despite the unthinkable death of 334,000 Americans, the unfathomable heartbreak so many have experienced, some good things really did happen in the year just gone by.

When you think about it, as you read this, it means you survived the hell of the last calendar year. That, alone, is something to celebrate. 

We’ve learned, in the hardest of hard ways that as a community, we went without so many things we were used to … in ways we never thought possible.

Whether it’s going to a favorite restaurant on a regular basis, heading to see grandma at her place once a week, going to church on Sunday, being in the classroom (as a student or teacher), going to an in-person meeting, we adjusted. 

And not only did we adjust, we adjusted well, whether it meant ordering in, calling grandma on Facetime, watching Mass or services on Youtube, taking class on Zoom, we found ways to make the best of 2020. And it wasn’t easy by any means.

However, it does mean that despite all of the horror surrounding 2020, we’ve mostly all ended up for the better.

Now we know that may sound bizarre to some. Fine. But years from now, when we look back at the year just gone by, perhaps we’ll see 2020 as the year that made life easier, the year the simpler things in life became more important.

Will we ever again take for granted going out to eat? Will we ever again take for granted a simple visit to grandma’s house? Will we ever again take for granted being able to attend sport events? Will we ever again take for granted the hour or so spent at church?

Just think about it. When finally we’re all able to do all we can’t do right now, won’t there be a special joy connected to it all? We think so — and we hope you experience it, too. Here’s to what must be a better 2021. Even if 2020 may not have been as bad as it seemed on the surface.

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Editor & Broadcaster at 

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.