Attempting to process the year that was, brings many analogies to mind. Perhaps like bad indigestion following a huge buffet meal, or waking up after a huge party as a college student?

My mind tends to jump from one thing to the other, like sifting through the rubble after a building has collapsed. Additionally, knowing that it’s not yet over adds to the confusion. Collectively we have a lot more navigating to do to find our way through!


2020 has taught us many lessons, not the least of which is how we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit and we don’t like change. It is easy to become comfortable in our routines and the circumstances that we’ve designed for ourselves, but how suddenly everything can be disrupted. It is especially troubling to me to consider how many have lost their loved ones, businesses that have been and are being destroyed, while many are seeing their life savings evaporating before their eyes.

Fortunately, in the immortal words of Dr Norman Vincent Peale, although the world is full of trouble, fortunately the world is also full of the overcoming of trouble. There is hope to be found and thanks to brilliant scientific minds, there are treatment regimens being identified and effective vaccines being manufactured that will undoubtedly change the course of this crisis. Like other devastating events in recent history, mankind will once again prevail.

The first step towards healing, building resolve and gaining ground in this challenge, is attitude. We must focus on every grain of positivity, and it begins with being grateful for what we do have, if we are to rebuild. We are especially blessed to live in a country with tightly knit communities and excellent social infrastructure to assist us in rising from the ashes. Life must go on and having the determination to do so, is essential to success.

Many examples come to mind where deep resolve and resilience has been required of individuals and communities facing adversity over the past decades. From hurricanes, tsunami’s, tornadoes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks and wars. The difference being with this pandemic, is that it is literally affecting the entire world simultaneously. Regardless, I am confident that an international spirit of resolve in overcoming the immense challenges will triumph. 

Regardless of the best efforts of scientists, governments and other leaders, essentially it will depend on every individual person, for us to collectively to emerge from this disaster.  We have to embrace a positive attitude, face the challenges head-on, work tirelessly through what is required of us, while we identify and embrace opportunities as we move forward. As we fight for survival, as individuals and as a community, the importance of extending a helping hand to our fellow man where need be, cannot be understated – it may literally be lifesaving.

It is painfully true, however that for some, this adversity has brought good fortune, while for others it has brought disaster. It appears that a greater socioeconomic divide is occurring and in many ways the ripples of this pandemic will likely forever change our world. Interesting times.

Dr Renier van Aardt MD