When we look back on 2020, what will we call this singularly difficult year? Will it be “The Pandemic Year” or “The Black Lives Matter Year” or “The Year Of The Wildfire” or “The Year Trump Lost”? Or will something happen during the 31 days of December that will upend everything that’s come before? (Please, please, please help us all if that’s the case.) Each of us has been forced to reflect upon our lives and the lives of our families, friends, and colleagues as 2020 whirred around us; we had to reckon with our mortality, the nature of our divided country, and an increasingly fragile environment. We faced multiple traumas and saw loss everywhere.

It was, one could say, “The Year Of Loss.” Fortunately, this 366-day test of endurance is almost over. January may bring short days and freezing temperatures, but it also delivers a new beginning. Yes, that beginning may be arbitrarily linked to the calendar, and I personally have never been one to make resolutions—but 2021 is different. So, here, I am saying goodbye to this year, and I hope you can too. Our lives may be forever changed by all that 2020 has wrought, but this month we can wish for joy during the holiday season. We can hope for widespread mask-wearing and an effective vaccine. We can take action to make substantive progress on race relations in America. And we all can make personal changes that will help preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren. The bar is pretty low after 2020, but here’s to making sure that the coming year will be better than the one that’s finally ending.