Dear 2020

Simi Bleznak
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Dear 2020,


It would be easier than forgetting SymMon for me to make this letter an endless list of all the reasons you sucked. I’m pretty sure the only person who enjoyed you was Patrick Mahomes. However, I’m not going to spend my time bashing you. Instead, I’m writing you a thank you note. Amidst the struggle that was waking up to the emotional and political turmoil of these times, you taught me valuable lessons that I will carry with me into 2021 and beyond.


So, here it goes...

Thank you for reminding me of the importance of reflecting on the things I am grateful for. In times of such profound loss, it can be hard to remember that which you still have.


My grandfather, who I lost to covid in april

His wife, 81, who continues to see patients during covid

Thank you for teaching me that my time and energy are valuable. When things begin to consume too much mental real estate, I have learned to stop and ask myself whether these worries are truly worth the energy, because if not, something else certainly is.


Thank you for making me realize that not everyone thinks the same or acts the same as I do. We all play with a different deck of cards and with our own set of rules. I have learned to be okay with never really understanding why people act the way they do. 


Thank you for teaching me the power of getting dressed in the morning. When I was feeling down, my internal emotions often manifested themselves in my outward appearance (basically wearing a groutfit to class, sorry mom). There certainly is some truth in the phrase “look good, feel good.”


Thank you for teaching me that it is okay (and sometimes necessary) to take a break and to step back. In the pressure-cooker environment of an elite university like Duke, taking time to reassess my goals has allowed me to rediscover my love of learning, a love that is the reason I am here in the first place.


On that note, thank you for showing me that doing something because it sounds cool isn’t a good enough reason to be doing it. While studying electrical engineering certainly fed into my big academic ego, I am looking forward to the diverse curriculum I’ll explore in my new studies.

Thank you for revealing to me how cathartic writing can be. I hate to say my mom was right, but she was. Expressing my thoughts through pen and paper (more like finger and keyboard) has served as a fundamental emotional release.


Thank you for giving me two more years of school with my best friend and sister by my side. And on the sibling front, thank you for showing me that there is truly no creature on this earth more loving than my new, furry brother Eddie.


Thank you for surrounding me with the most incredible group of people I have ever known. I will never forget the time when I had a really tough day and I zonked out on our wobbly couch only to be awoken by nine of my best friends and the wafting scents of homemade ziti and gluten-free, Insomnia cookies. The fact that all of them dropped what they were doing to be by my side meant more than they could ever know. And I would do the same for them in a heartbeat.

So yeah, 2020, you weren’t exactly the greatest time of my life. Quite frankly, there isn’t much of a legitimate difference between December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021 other than a few hours. Still, this proverbial reset serves as a closed door to one set of experiences and an open door with a blank slate to another. 


We may not be able to control our circumstances, we can control how we let them affect us. In 2021, I hope to use the experiences of 2020 to better help me navigate the ways in which I allow hardship to affect me.


And that’s it. That’s my only New Year’s resolution. Because every time I say I am going to train for a half marathon or write a novel, I never do. And I probably never will. 


So, 2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Or maybe do.


Either way, thank you.