2020 has been like no other year we have seen, and hopefully unlike anything we’ll ever see again in our lifetimes. No one could have ever imagined in March, when we first heard about a new virus called COVID-19, that nine months later we would find ourselves in one of the worst global pandemics in our history.
This deadly virus went on to bring about challenges that made us rethink nearly every aspect of our daily lives. We had to change how we communicated and interacted with people. Hugs and high-fives were replaced with elbows and eyebrow raises. In-person meetings and gatherings turned into Zoom calls and virtual happy hours. Families and children had to adapt quickly to online learning at home. Masks became a part of daily wardrobe while we perfected how to social distance. We were evolving as a society almost daily as we learned how to “stop the spread.”
The virus didn’t only present challenges on a personal level, it impacted our communities and our country at the highest levels. COVID-19 polarized the political landscape and fueled social unrest across the nation. It forced us to question every decision made and every response to those decisions. While our country may have been divided, people are united in their resolve to get through this.
We struggled with loss in so many ways in 2020. Our ability to move about freely was lost. Events were cancelled or rescheduled, opportunities were lost. Perhaps the biggest loss was the time with loved ones. Time apart from parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren. Quarantines would become a long-lasting, widespread reality that would keep us apart from those closest to us. Some of us were fortunate enough to avoid the ultimate loss — the death of a loved one — but hundreds of thousands across the United States were not so lucky.
For us in the fitness industry, loss hit home early. We were one of the first industries to be shut down, and one of the last to re-open. Our employees lost jobs, our members lost the ability to continue their fitness journeys, and owners suffered unthinkable financial losses that come with being shut down. It’s estimated up to 25% of fitness centers may have closed permanently this year. The physical and mental effects of a world without fitness centers would take its toll. Depression and anxiety increased, and many discovered the meaning of the Quarantine 15.”
This year has often been described as “unprecedented.” While that is true, and may even be an understatement, 2020 will not only be looked back at for all of the challenges that resulted from COVID-19. We saw people step up in ways through brought us hope for our collective future. From our first responders to fitness professionals, we rose to the occasion. We figured out how to adapt and accelerate our learning.
We found new ways to connect and help people virtually.
Most importantly, we never quit.
Now with vaccines being rolled out, and new relief and stimulus aid is on the way, the future looks
brighter for all of us. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we can overcome anything if we work together.
Our ability to reinvent ourselves in the face of adversity was proven in 2020.
Are we ready for 2021?
Bill Lia, Jr.