Dr. Annie Duan

Okay, so 2020 has been tough. There’s been a plethora of missed weddings and graduations, canceled vacations and holidays and a general sense of loneliness as a whole generation of PGY-1s moved across the country during a pandemic. When I was asked to write a reflection of 2020, I started with a month-to-month play of 2020, which turned into a shockingly miserable diary of complaints. So scratch that – in the spirit of Julie Andrews, these are a few of my favourite (2020) things instead:

1. Lack of morning traffic jams

There are two things in this world made to destroy humanity: traffic jams and printers. And let’s face it, it’s bad enough when you face the wrath of your attending when you show up late for morning rounds (thanks to that standstill traffic), but it’s even worse when you’re stuck in that morning jam post-call, so tired you start hallucinating and using your dashboard as a pillow. BUT, as people are working from home in 2020, the roadways have cleared. Now if only we can figure out why that printer still has an error code…

2. COVID babies

Shout out to all my med friends who are expecting, you know who you are! Looking forward to babysitting in 2021.

3. COVID fur-babies

Shout out to all my friends who weren’t quite ready for a baby but got a fur-baby instead (and that one superwoman friend who got both!) Looking forward to physically distanced walks with your COVID-puppies when we’re allowed again.

4. Spending less on makeup

I may have lost my Sephora VIB rouge status, but at least I saved a good few hundred on blush/bronzer/highlighter/lipstick/lip gloss. The only thing less sexy than hospital masks are your beautifully blushed up cheeks streaked with mask lines when the masks finally come off.

5. Shopping in semi-empty stores

Sure, the line up outside took 15 minutes, but there is something beautiful about shopping in peace and quiet.

6. Seeing surgical and pathology resident physicians in the light of day

Thanks to the ORs canceling non-urgent surgeries, surgical and pathology resident physicians have emerged from the darkness and rejoined the rest of us in the resident physicians’ lounges.

7. Having civilized discussions on the Journal of Facebook Medicine about the intricacies of conspiracies with PhDs of Armchair Warrior Medicine. Learning patience and restraint on social media.

8. Inclusion of sign language in daily updates

How did it take us until 2020 and a pandemic before we started doing daily updates with sign language?! Either way, I’m glad of the inclusivity and hope it’s here to stay.

9. Hinshaw. No need to say more.

10. Trump out. Biden in.

11. Time

With the strange gift of time, like many others I developed skills that are virtually forgotten and useless in modern society but may come in handy in an apocalypse. Like bread making with my own sourdough starter. And learning how to build a kitchen.

But more importantly, 2020 is the year we’ve stopped being cavalier with the time spent with family and friends. The year when every hug was significant, every phone call treasured and every goodbye meaningful.

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