20 Good Things That Happened in 2020

20 Good Things That Happened in 2020

In a world just before lockdown, SNL‘s Debbie Downer appeared on March 7 in an oddly prescient role, complaining about coronavirus and, of course, feline AIDS.

That week Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced the first COVID-19 case in New York — and very few foresaw what would completely upend the start to a shiny new decade.

Then again, hindsight is 20/20.

Despite the worst things that happened in 2020 — raging wildfires, devastating explosions, a relentless pandemic — there were still lots of good things that offset the doom-scrolling.

We still celebrated new jobs, found love, had babies, laughed, and crushed our 30-day challenges. Here are some of the good things that happened over this trying year.

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1. Frontline Workers Got Hero Salutes

We all recognized doctors, nurses, and medical staff for the important work they do, keeping us safe and healthy.

 

2. People Learned to Wash Their Hands

hand washing | good things that happened in 2020

Seriously, it was time. In fact, here’s how to put correct hand hygiene into action again just in case anyone forgot.

 

3. Parents Gained a New Appreciation for Teachers

Educating the next generation is hard work, and parents got to see firsthand that schooling can be grueling.

 

4. Nature Got a Break — and You Saved a Ton on Gas

As the pandemic kept us in our homes and out of our cars, air pollution declined and there was even an uptick in whale-spotting in New York Harbor.

 

5. Families Spent More Time Together

father daughter playing together | good things that happened in 2020

While quarantine was tough, getting to make meals and crafts with the people we love most was a bright spot.

 

6. Sourdough Starter Became a Second Pandemic

The big lesson? Yeast will eventually rise up and overwhelm us all. Oh, and good food shouldn’t be super-processed.

 

7. Home Gym Equipment Actually Saw Use

Streaming online workouts, live or on your own schedule, has been a boon to physical and mental well-being. Need some inspiration? Join us here.

 

8. Aliens Might Be Real…

As we know from sci-fi flicks and bad network television, this could be good or bad news. But government reports suggest the Pentagon’s UFO-tracking program is legit.

 

9. …But SpaceX Blasted Off Safely for the ISS

So while n00b aliens are foolishly buying high on earth, our off-planet plan is looking promising!

 

10. Voter Turnout Hit Record Numbers

young woman holding up voting sticker | good things that happened in 2020

People became more politically aware, exercising their democratic right to vote. Youth turnout, especially, was significantly higher this year than in 2016.

 

11. We Got to Watch Tons of Free Online Concerts

It’ll be a lonnng time before we again cram into an arena with thousands of bouncing, sweaty hip-hop or Phish heads, so it’s been nice of some of our favorite artists to stream music straight to our living rooms.

 

12. We All Got Around to Decluttering

There’s a good chance you finally recycled your old college textbooks or donated old coats.

 

13. People Started Using Their Kitchens

Home cooking and discovering new ingredients became new norms. (And we have a ton of recipes to keep you going.)

 

14. Drones Walked Dogs and Fetched Toilet Paper

Finally, people used these flying machines for activities that weren’t annoying, creepy, or threatening to national security.

 

15. Drive-In Movies Made a Comeback

car in drive in movie theater | good things that happened in 2020

We all got to experience the bigger screen the way our parents did in those brief moments between when they were busy trying to conceive us.

 

16. Neighbors Checked in on Elderly People

Speaking of which, can someone please check on Betty White? We love her.

 

17. We Developed a Newfound Appreciation for the Outdoors

From camping to workouts to picnic date nights, people found ways to get outside and appreciate nature.

 

18. Pet Adoptions Soared

People cleared out shelters and cleared space in their hearts and homes for cuddly animals.

 

19. We Read More

young woman reading a book next to couch | good things that happened in 2020

Along with dystopian thrillers and romance romps, some of us actually cracked the spine on some nonfiction works.

 

20. Medical Breakthroughs Teased Hope on the Horizon

Global leaders vowed to unite for a cure — could peace on earth be next?

cemile kavountz

About

Cemile has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing about everything from style icons to fancy sinks. She studied at Boston University, and has written for New York magazine, GQ, Travel + Leisure, Women’s Health, WIRED, Food + Wine, Surface, Fortune, and Entertainment Weekly. Follow her on Instagram

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