Last New Year’s Eve I found myself using the cheer “Here’s to 2020 vision” as I clinked glasses with my friends. 2020 was going to be my year.. Or so we all thought. I originally started to think that 2020 vision wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be but then again it made me realize everyday things that I took for granted prior to “the plague year.”
Remember going out and congregating? Hugging friends, hugging family... Heck, even hugging strangers in public spaces-- Crowded, joyful public spaces. Remember going to shows dancing, sweating, and maybe even howling at the moon together as a chaotic mass of humanity?
Remember going on dates before you had to get tested (for COVID) just for meeting? Who would have thought that comparing COVID symptoms wasn't the best follow up date conversation? Though it could make for a good romantic how-we-met story, I’d call it, “Love during the plague year 2020.”
Never will I ever take the irreplaceable sense of community for granted again. Humans are social creatures, we need each other’s company but we’re making due. Full disclosure: I rarely like to sing technology’s praises. In fact, I’ve been called a Luddite by some but thanks to apps like Zoom and facetime we’ve been able to chat face to face, instead of meeting in a public space we briefly invite friends and colleagues into our homes while providing intimate glimpses into our everyday lives.
Whether it’s work-related meetings, involves distance learning, or serves as a digital happy hour or live stream. These apps have been a lifesaver. I feel that in 2020 we’ve re-learned how to connect and be human again. I heard from friends across the country, who I hadn’t seen in close to a decade and we talked about life and we re-established how important it is to have a good support system. In 2020 I realized how fortunate I am.
I’ve learned to embrace working from home--my cat certainly appreciates it, though I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my coffee will never be as good as the coffee made by John Strand--always served with a smile and a hug.
In 2020 I learned how much I appreciate my job. After being unemployed for seven months I thought a lot about what we do and why we do it. I thought a lot about how the story of the year was not only killing us--as humans but local journalism as a whole as daily and weekly papers adjusted their print schedules to make things work as local economies started to slow down. We all saw the ripple effect. RIP City Pages.
I thought more about our role and about our voice at High Plains Reader and even the voice of countless smalltown papers dotting the prairie, I thought about how critical it is that each community has a mouthpiece.
If we’ve learned ANYTHING from Orville Peck, he re-established the fact that masks are sexy. I’ll fully admit that Zorro might have been my first crush. Whether it was the late 50s TV series or the 90s TV series I digress.
Plus in subzero temperatures masks just make sense, they keep your face warm, you don’t have to worry about your coffee breath and it doesn't matter if you haven’t waxed your upper lip in over a year. You’re carrying a sense of mystery and you’re doing your due diligence as a good citizen by wearing a mask and slowing the spread.
2021 is heralding some change at HPR. You may have noticed that we’ve been adjusting our print schedule to adjust with these changing times. Since our inception, we’ve been a weekly but once we returned to print in October we’ve been printing every other week, As of 2021 we will be printing monthly.
Fear not dear readers, we’ll still be bringing you the news and all the cool haps still. Change is inevitable and if we’ve learned anything from 2020 is that we need to learn to adapt.
That being said, the end of an era has arrived. The man, myth, legend, and tallest ad-man in Fargo J Earl Miller is leaving HPR after 15 years. We love you J and we wish you the best of luck. Now I’m the tallest person on staff--I know I have some big shoes to fill but I’ll work on my lean and my hustle.
Hopefully, things get better in 2021 and it doesn’t end up a cruddy sequel to 2020. 2020 wasn’t a good year but personally, it wasn’t my worst year. Though I have to admit that the phrase “hindsight is 2020” has an entirely different meaning now.
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