If we look at 2020 in reverse, we see 0202.
02, the commonly referred to abbreviation for oxygen which many think of as “breath,” has become the focus of our lives this past year. Unlike any year before it, 2020 has uncovered the preciousness and fragility of our breath.
Many have had the devastating experience of clinging to their breath during 2020. For the unfortunate who have been infected with Covid 19 and have experienced respiratory difficulty, the notion of being unable to breathe has been frightening to say the least and life-robbing for far too many. Making matters more dismal, many victims who succumbed to the virus were forced to take their last dying breath alone, separated from family and friends.
The preciousness of breath became further pronounced as we witnessed the egregious murder of George Perry Floyd, Jr. Last May, George Floyd suffered the devastation of gasping and pleading for breath as his face became burrowed in the concrete under the officer‘s knee. Watching his deprivation of breath and ultimate death was a harrowing and life-altering scene for the world to watch.
Loss of 02, breath affected so many this past year, whether it was more personal and close to home or whether it was witnessed by watching scenes on television. Either way, the preciousness of breath became an inescapable reality for everyone. We learned that if we don’t have our breath, we don’t have our health and if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything.
Since 0202 is repeated twice, it behooves us to look at the concept of breath from two vantage points.
For some, the pandemic provided an opportunity to catch their breath. Some were forced to slow down, suspend travel, hunker down at home and take a moment to breathe.
These slower, home-based moments gave some a chance to re-evaluate priorities and to reconnect with friends and family members. Many took up new hobbies or resumed old hobbies like painting, crocheting, reading, baking, cooking, photography, carpentry, to name a few.
Slowing down gave some people a chance to include more walking and exercise in their daily routine. Some renewed their appreciation of nature and took hikes, taking in breaths of fresh air that they hadn’t had time for previously. Some found new sites and attractions a short drive away from their homes. And some took up meditation and yoga; therapeutic practices that help to restore breath and health.
Whether 2020 brought with it opportunities to take in more oxygen and restore breath or whether it devastated families, friends, co-workers and onlookers by depriving people of oxygen and breath, we have all learned a lot during this past year.
We have learned about the preciousness of 02, our breath, and we have learned about the fragility of life.
Looking back on 2020, we will never again take 0202 for granted.
About the Author: Fran Mendelowitz, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Bellmore, NY and Founder of InterACT NY ©.www.interactny.com. Contact Fran at [email protected]