Was 2020 The Worst Year Ever?
Updated: Feb 28
Here we are, December 31st; the final day of 2020. As the year draws to a close, I find myself asking the rhetorical question that many have asked soooooo many times this year, “Isn’t this just the worst year ever?” Then it occurred to me; ask Google! Google knows everything! “Okay Google, what IS the worst year EVER?”
My good friend and as of late constant companion Googs delivered several nominees for the worst year to be alive. 1349 – The black plaque which killed half the population of Europe. 1520 - smallpox which became the scourge of the Americas and killed up to 90 per cent of its original inhabitants. 1918 – Over 50 million people perished from the Spanish flu. 1933 – The rise of the Hitler era which scarred the world with some of the worst human suffering ever known. The clear winner per historians? 536 A.D.
Now not knowing anyone personally from this era, I had to do a little research to find out what happened. In 536, a dense fog plunged Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness 24 hours a day, for almost 2 years. "For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year," …….Procopius. Dang!
Global temperatures plummeted, crops failed and famine was rampant throughout various parts of the world.
Economies collapsed in Europe and in 541 A.D. the bubonic plaque led to the death of almost 100 million people. In recent times researchers discovered that it was a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland in early 536 which led to huge quantities of ash being spewed across much of the world creating the dense fog that plunged much of the world into darkness. 24 hours a day. For 2 years. It was the kickoff to what became the Dark Ages and many historians have presented 536 A.D. the gold medal for the worst year to be alive.
While I found the history fascinating, the next time someone speaks to me about how bad 2020 was, my sensitivity training tells me to NOT say, “You think 2020 was bad? Well, let me tell you about 536 A.D.” At an individual level, a bad year is a personal declaration based upon a personal occurrence or occurrences. 2020 has tragically touched far too many of us on a personal level at varying degrees with COVID-19 being the primary cause. Many have lost loved ones, sustained economic losses, are facing hunger, and are undergoing an interruption of the social interactions upon which humans thrive.
So…with 2020 virtually in the rearview mirror, I believe that 2021 is a year that will lead to transformational beginnings filled with newness and change. That does not mean that I expect to see unicorns and rainbows starting January 1 (that would be lovely however).
The dawn of a new year symbolizes a starting point, not an end result. It will require strong will and determination while showing thoughtfulness, togetherness and kindness along the way with the resolve to make each day better than the one before.
So, in bidding adieu to 2020 I quote Queen Elizabeth II in speaking to 1992. (I’m using my English accent here.) 2020 was an “annus horribilis”. Welcome 2021!! Thank-you for the love and support you have shown us at The Intaglio Salon. We look forward to seeing you in the coming year.
Be kind, be safe.
The Intaglio Salon
"Okay Google, what is the best year EVER?"
The Intaglio Salon