We’ve made it half-way through the equivalent of an Associates of Arts Degree in the studies of: International Studies Covid-19, 2020. Together we are mastering this new way of learning - whether we like to or not. Did you find all the supplies you needed for your classes - PPE, hand sanitizer, toilet paper? How well did you do in the Mask on/Mask off 101 class? That was a toughie! What about the advanced courses in Zoom? Hopefully we won’t have to re-take Beginning Handwashing in 2021.
I wonder how next year’s “classes” will be - a boring repeat or altogether different? Can the classes we’ve already mastered be skipped over for graduation? What have learned that will carry us through? My guess is that once we finally do graduate, we will be amazed at what we have accomplished in this extremely rigorous course of study.
In the midst of the rigor of these “studies”, we have been separated from our loved ones or have had to even endure the pain of losing loved ones, had spring and summer vacations and holidays canceled or limited, had guestless weddings and funerals, births, graduations and retirements, all without being able to celebrate close-up and in-person with those we love. Church services, restaurants, sporting and entertainment events have had severe limitations. We have been thrust into working from our home computers while simultaneously teaching our own children - at home. We didn’t ask for this “degree”, but, this course of study has fundamentally changed all of us.
You’ll have to admit, the courses have been far more challenging for some than for others. Businesses have closed. Projects postponed. Events rescheduled or canceled. Jobs lost. Supplies limited. Illnesses endured and even lives lost. This course of study has taken every ounce of our determination, efforts and focus. It has virtually wiped us out. Are there courses we took that have paved a new path? How will we choose to move forward?
One thing for certain, we have become more determined “students”. We have become more creative in getting to our desired outcomes. We have learned to multi-task like a boss! We have learned to endure pain, suffering, and even feel joy, in solitude. All of this - with not enough hugs! We are much stronger than we know, and more capable and resilient than we ever thought possible.
Well classmates, so long until next year. The upcoming graduation is bound to be epic! We are part of the first graduating class of superstars to achieve the highest honors for accomplishing the insurmountable courses of studies in International Covid-19, 2020. Congratulations! Get your pencils sharpened for International Covid-19, Course 2021 – we can do it!
While this letter has been a parody of sorts, it is not to diminish in any way the individual experiences each of us have had. I have loved being Longview’s Mayor this past year and look forward to what the New Year will bring. We will continue to take the coming challenges head on, together.
Many blessings to all of you for a safe and healthy Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Mayor MaryAlice Wallis