Likely to be known as “the lost year,” 2020 felt like it was a decade long. This year was one of loss on innumerable levels—but also one where many found gratitude in unexpected silver linings. We asked five locals to share the lessons that they will be taking with them into 2021.

Malushua Griffith and her family

Malushua Griffith and her family

Malushua Griffith

Stay-at-home mom

"The silver lining I will bring into the New Year is more quality time with my beautiful family.

"This pandemic has made me realize how important our lives are and how important it is to connect and spend time with family and friends because tomorrow is not promised to any of us. In 2020, more than 300,000 people weren’t lucky enough to make it to 2021. They didn’t get the opportunity to spend that quality time with their family and friends like they wanted.

"The pandemic also made me realize my priorities and take advantage of my time here on Earth. The reality is that this is borrowed time and we all have to make the best of it.

"We have to love each other unconditionally, and don’t hold malice because you may leave this earth without being able to tell someone how much you love them."

KT Curran

KT Curran

KT Curran

Founder and artistic director, Wingspan Productions, Inc., and 2020 Unity Award winner

"Living through a global pandemic was something I never imagined that I would experience in my lifetime. Seeing catastrophic loss both locally and across the world has been sobering and life-changing. And in the midst of the pandemic, to join with friends across the country protesting, marching and standing up for Black Lives Matter, to witness the healthcare workers risking everything to save lives, to grieve so many out of work, to join with millions turning out to vote—this was a year that tested our nation, and it was a year when Americans rose to the test.

"As 2020 stretched on, it seemed as if every encounter with another human being became an extraordinary experience. As I stare into the eyes of a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, delivery truck driver or grocery clerk, I am infused with a sense of how impermanent life truly is and even more, how grateful I am for each person’s contribution to our collective good. We are all so deeply connected.

"Rising out of the ashes of 2020, on the evening the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, I announced the launch of my new nonprofit film company, Wingspan Productions, whose goal is to explore the most pressing issues of our time in national film initiatives that help the world. We all must work together to rebuild."

Michael Kinsey

Michael Kinsey

Michael Kinsey

Owner, Kinsey5Media, and photographer of our "Listening to Black Voices" series

"My personal silver lining is that I've done a lot of reflection and personal growth. Having so much time alone and realizing my mortality just a bit more made me work harder and dream bigger.

"As for business, I’ve discovered that during the pandemic, Hollywood has given smaller production companies and alternative distribution methods a leg up. So, there are opportunities within the Hollywood machine that were previously reserved for the larger, more established companies. The pandemic has created a demand for original and streamable content because people want to be entertained now more than ever. The silver lining here has been opening my production company and photography studio, Kinsey5Media. It's been scary, but history has shown that great American companies were born during the worst of times."

Ceara Jolly

Ceara Jolly

Ceara Jolly

Owner, CC’s Paper Artistry

"While this year was filled with challenges and hardships, it taught me to never stop creating and growing as as an artist, a small business owner, and a mother.

"2020 has been full of many changes for our family, but one silver lining I plan to take into the New Year is quality time with my kids. Working from home has allowed me to transition my oldest daughter into a virtual learning program, which means both of my girls are now home with me every day. And I encouraged my 12-year-old daughter to become a small business owner. Over the last months, her business—The Confetti Princess—has taken off, with an immense amount of support from our community.

"Our new flexible schedule has allowed us free range to plan activities and make memories together. This year has shown us what is really important: health, happiness and family."

Rae A. Ramos

Rae A. Ramos

Rae A. Ramos

Head of programs and external relations at Sarasota Art Museum

"While challenging, and even devastating, for many, 2020 has inspired and motivated me to dive deeper into issues that are important to me: spending more time in nature, allocating more money for social justice and environmental causes, and carving out more time for educational reading.

"However, the most meaningful and necessary of my silver linings are the many important conversations surrounding inclusion, diversity, equality, and accessibility—especially as they pertain to the arts—and advancing racial equity within our organizations and among our communities. The more we talk and act, the better chance we have at achieving a more just world. The future is bright."

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