Imagine this: you’re on a long road trip in your good old reliable car. It’s been a good trip—it’s fun, you have good company, the scenery has mostly been enjoyable.

The weather has been agreeable for the most part, but now it’s dreary. Then it’s nasty. According to the radio, you’ll be coming out the other side of the storm in a couple of hours. 

While you’re motoring through the worst of it, the odometer clicks over to show that you and your good old reliable car have reached the 100,000-kilometre mark together.

One of life’s small sentimental moments to be sure. You celebrate with a quiet smile.

But it’s not the biggest thing in your life right now. You have to get safely through the storm so you can continue your journey.

That’s how I will see New Year’s Day.  

Much has been made of how 2020 has been a horrible year, and of course in many ways it has. But when the calendar “clicks over” to show 2021, we’ll still be more or less where we were the day before.

I’m grateful my family and I have made it through 2020 in good health. Many have not been so lucky. The economic devastation has slowed down the business side of Respect, but it hasn’t stopped us. I can allow myself to smile.

I have both hands on the wheel and my eyes are on the road as we make our way through this stormy patch. I am confident and optimistic, but I’m still careful.

The storm is part of the trip; 2020 has been part of my life.

An old woman was once asked: if she could go back in time, what age would she like to be? She rejected the question out of hand. 

Which of her years would she trade? Would she give up her children’s first words, their birthdays, their weddings so she could return to her courting days? Would she give up her school years or her first love to be a small child again? 

Would she trade away the challenges that strengthened her, or the hardships that showed people’s kindness? 

And, she wisely explained, when you are 16 years old you are not guaranteed that you will reach 60 (or 17, for that matter). Now that she’s 90, would she risk all of her experience—the laughter, the tears, the joys and sorrows— with no promise she would have a longer or better life if given a second chance?

Life is unpredictable, and we deal with it. We are living through a distressing time, but no one promised us anything different. I will learn what I can, do what I can, and most of all I will appreciate the people around me. And I will keep going.

The end of 2020 brings hope, but changing the date doesn’t change the world. That will be up to us.

Keep going! January 1, 2021 isn’t the end of the storm. But we can see it from here.