One hundred years ago, humanity was limping its way between two world wars that would each consume millions of us and leave behind wounds that we are still licking today. Six hundred years earlier a bacterial disease rampages across Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, killing somewhere between 25 and 50 million of us. Half of the people of Europe died. In the strange way that life works, there was a silver lining behind that dark cloud that would be wonderful to repeat:

If we had known at this point in 2019 that we could pretty much write off the next couple of years as lost ones, we might have slept through them. And maybe we did. It certainly feels like we’ve been circling through a series of nightmares. Maybe aliens have taken over and are putting us through horrifying mazes for their amusement. Maybe we’ve been here before.

Significant losses within older intellectual communities brought on an unprecedented opportunity for new ideas and art concepts to take hold, directly leading to the Renaissance and a more youthful, enlightened period of human history.

The Triumph of Death by Pieter Brueghel the Elder – Museo del Prado,

The new year that is about to land on our doorsteps will challenge each of us in new and unpredictable ways. Some of us will crack under its pressure. Some of us will discover strength we didn’t know we had. Most of us will cling to the people we love and tell them, and ourselves, that whatever comes, we will get through it together.

And, if nothing else, we now know that some later year than 2021 will be engraved as the end date on our tombstones.

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