We’ve all heard the phrase “hindsight is 2020.”
It comes up when people like us look back on decisions and realize that the decision we should have made is now clear, later, once we’ve had time to see how things played out.
But at the time the decision was made, things weren’t as clear so they went ahead and made a decision that wasn’t with perfect 20/20 vision, like when you go to the eye doctor and they say you have 20/20 vision, which means your vision is good and sharp.
You get it.
But what does this have to do with the year 2020 not being 2020?
Let’s start with this. As we look back on this year, it’s not clear at all that what happened this year will be clear in hindsight.
Can you imagine American history teachers trying to explain to their high school students 50 years from now what happened in the United States in the year 2020? What a messy incoherent syllabus that would be?
So much about this year has been so blasted blurry that it’s highly unlikely we will look back and have a 20/20 vision about it all, the election, Covid19, the burning of the cop cars, none of it.
This year has been the ultimate in obfuscation, unfocused visual misperceptions and weird deceptions, information that doesn’t add up, actions that don’t make sense, news programs that say the exact opposite about the day’s events at the same time.
How can that kind of stuff be anything but unclear?
Nothing has been straightforward. We’ve been zigzagging around, turning around in circles, spinning our minds around trying to connect the threads of all the information that never adds up to anything we can, without hesitation, say “hey, I get that.”
There’s the rub. No one will ever really “get” 2020 because it’s an anomaly and unprecedented and flat out bizarre and tragic and so weird and sad and over-stimulating.
2020 has not been hindsight. It’s been quite a surreal sight, an avalanche of awful sights that we can’t really figure out how to process because we’ve never seen it before.
Everything this year, day after day, is a new thing to be confused and concerned about. That’s not normal. No year has ever been like this so what do we have to compare it to for contextual understanding?
You can’t clarify in your mind what you’ve never seen before without being dubious and wondering if what you’re seeing is or isn’t really happening. Are those really cars lined up for miles at food banks? Here, in America?
What’s clear about that? What are we supposed to do? What are we supposed to think? When will this end?
It’s not obvious.
Not this year. Not in 2020. It’s the year of the opaque odyssey, a line you can’t trace, a time you can’t keep track of, a place you’ve never been before psychologically or emotionally.
In hindsight many years from now, nothing will be more clear than that.