“I can’t wait for 2020 to be over!” is something I keep hearing over and over. To me, it’s like hearing people boarding the Titanic saying “I can’t wait for this ship to pull away from the dock and get under way!”
Why does anyone think that 2021 is going to be an improvement over 2020? I mean, think about it a minute….all the negative things that occurred in 2020? The consequences of those events will carry into or appear in 2021. 2021 is going to be full of unplanned, unintended, and unanticipated consequences of things that happened in 2020.
Lemme give you an example – Wuhan Flu erupts and Joe the waiter gets his hours cut or his job ‘temporarily’ eliminated. Ok, we can foresee that. And then Joe can’t pay his rent, but have no fear…government puts a moratorium on evictions. Joe is safe. But there’s further downstream consequences…Sally, the retired schoolteacher who owns the rental property that Joe is not paying rent on, counts on that rental income every month to supplement her small pension. And pay the property taxes on that rental. And the insurance. And now that Joe has a gov-issued free pass to squat there, Sally has to choose between eating and paying property taxes to avoid losing her rental property. Unintended consequences.
I think 2021 is going to be full of downstream consequences like that. People only look one or two, maybe three, steps downstream at what the consequences of some of these things will be. Look further and you’ll see that it takes time for the affects of those things to occur…and when will those affects finally start bubbling to the surface? 2021.
The original proverb goes something like this;
For want of a nail a horseshoe was lost,
for want of a horseshoe a horse went lame,
for want of a horse a rider never got through,
for want of a rider a message never arrived,
for want of a message an army was never sent,
for want of an army a battle was lost,
for want of a battle a war was lost,
for want of a war a kingdom fell,
and all for want of a nail.
The guy putting shoes on the horse probably never thinks that if he does his job incorrectly the kingdom will fall into ruin, after all its just a nail in a horseshoe. But…its an excellent example of how not thinking about the far reaching consequences of an action come back to bite you on the ass.
My point is: there is no, and I mean NO, indication that 2021 is going to be a welcome relief from 2020. Even with a vaccine, the damage that has been done socially, economically, politically, ideologically, and emotionally is already in play. Like an earthquake in the middle of the ocean, the tsunami has already started to head towards land. The fact that it doesnt strike right away doesn’t change the fact that it is coming. Same thing.
More worrisome are the people who think that once the calendar rolls over to 2021…whew!..we’re safe. These are the people who will be caught empty pantry, empty bank account, empty magazines, empty life when 2021 doubles down on the crap that 2020 started.
But…I could be wrong. Maybe everyone gets the vaccine, infection rates drop, businesses (the ones that survived) roar back and boundless opportunities present themselves. Might happen. But I’d rather prepare for the other alternative and be proven wrong, than not prepare because I believe in the rosy future and wind up shoplifting steaks to survive.