Things can only get better

It’s become something of a tradition at Catalonia Today to dedicate a number of pages in the December issue of the magazine to reviewing some of the key events – in various walks of life, at home and abroad – that have appeared in the news in the previous 12 months. It’s obviously an incomplete look back at the year because there’s not the space to include everything, but I always find it interesting to refresh the memory, especially in the case of those stories that make me think: “Was that only six months ago? I thought it was more like two years” or “Was that six months ago? I thought it was only two weeks ago.”

Looking at this year’s review of the year, for example, which begins on page 19 (go back and check it out in case you haven’t already), I see that the Catalan election took place in February, when I could have sworn it was at the end of the previous year. I’m also reminded that the Olympics went ahead in Tokyo in the summer, which I’d completely forgotten about: for some reason, probably the lack of crowds, the Games didn’t make the impression on me that they usually do.

Then I thought it might be interesting to look back at the review from previous issues, to see how the stories we highlighted in the past couple of years have stood the test of time. One thing became immediately clear to me: there’s no underestimating the effect of the pandemic as a turning point in our recent history, as many of the stories we focused on have since been overshadowed or even made completely irrelevant since the onset of Covid-19.

However, I especially enjoyed reading the column I wrote for the December 2019 issue of the magazine (no doubt the one and only time that sentence has ever been said), which looked on the bright side of the year and contemplated 2020 with an enthusiastic sense of optimism. In other words, while coronavirus was already beginning to claim its first victims in China in December 2019, I was blithely listing many of the good things that had happened during the previous 12 months and concluded, please allow me to quote myself, “I for one am sure there’ll be plenty more like them in the year to come.”

While there were few among us who foresaw the imminent approach of a global pandemic that would disrupt the normal functioning of society, turn our personal lives upside down, hamstring the economy, and leave millions dead, just how wrong can you be? Predictions, it seems, are not my thing and I think I’d best steer clear of future analytics or fortune telling. From a personal point of view, the most worrying thing of all is that I predicted that my football team, Everton, would have an uncharacteristically good season. They are currently on a run of five defeats out of six.

Where I am perhaps on firmer ground – although I’ll find out for sure in a couple of years when I look back at this column – is that while things may have been bad this year due to the continuing pandemic, surely, in the immortal words of nineties pop group D:ream: things can only get better.

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