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There's something about 2020

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

There may very well be something about Mary ... but so far 2020 has proven to be the most curious, frustrating, unimaginable, dangerous, almost uncontrollable year in a century - or perhaps even longer. So where are we headed? Some of SSOA's emerging writers share their thoughts here on travelling through the year while staying put:


I’m sitting on a train on a round spot sticker that lets me know it is okay to 'sit here'. In fact, in 2020 I have realised most of my life is now being directed in one way or another in an effort to keep us safe.

I worry if someone will get on the train and decide to ignore the rules. I console myself that I have a mask in my bag that I can put on. I'm not in the mood for confrontation today.

As I watch the stations flicker by, I think about 2020. I amuse myself with the thought that 2020 also stands for perfect vision. I wonder if that is the gift out of all that 2020 has bought us. To open our eyes see things in a different light, however painful. Like a birth. In the same way that we don’t have a say when we are born into the world.

For I realise it is a new world.

It's not my stop yet so, to pass the time, I add the numbers for 2020 to see what they mean in numerology, 2 + 0 + 2 + 0 = 4.

I google what 4 means and find a page that says, 'structure, foundations, dedication and planning'.

The meaning to me is eerily quite accurate, as so far 2020 has been all of these to me, and so much more challenging than I could have imagined.

Elizabeth Marcano


Looking beyond the most striking image of someone having 2020 vision, let's go to the numbers themselves. 2020 adds up to the number 4. In Chinese and Japanese societies this number is considered unlucky because 'four' (she) sounds so much like the word for death (shi). Whereas in some western countries - North America, Europe and Australia - numerologists have declared that four is a lucky number, signifying prosperity and achievement through hard work and discipline, those virtues our capitalist system is supposedly built on, and the religious belief (the religion being capitalism) that practising these so-called virtues leads to happiness.

How 2020 is panning out would seem to indicate that 4 is rather an unlucky number. For millennials, climate change is replacing the baby boomers' fear of nuclear destruction as a fateful background to our lives. Bushfires, floods and pestilence rage through the land. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - War, Death, Famine, Pestilence - rampaging through all our lives. The hyper-capitalist US, a country continuously at war for 222 years out of its 239 years of existence, indicates to the world that it's every man for himself (and 'bugger' the women and children). Yet the year of the Number Four has brought the country to its reckless knees.

2020 adding up to 4 has indeed been unlucky for the world’s many, but an opportunity to make vast profits for the very lucky few.

Roslyn Lawson


Matthew was struggling with his history homework and decided to ask his clever Granny a few questions. Her head was always in the past. He found her knitting in the garden for her latest grandchild and soaking up the last of the evening rays.

‘Granny, what happened in 2020? The teacher wants us to research that year’. He watched as his Granny’s usually sunny face changed quickly. It closed down and her eyes became wistful as they retreated back to a dark time. What to tell him? He was only 9 - he didn’t need to be burdened with the problems of the planet.

‘Well,’ she hesitantly replied. ‘In 2019, there was joy and freedom in the world and everyone moved about - both for work and for holidays. Every place was different - the food, the people, the clothing - and there were many beautiful places to visit - snowy mountains to ski, green forests to walk in and clean sandy beaches. People were happy and had good jobs to take care of their families and do nice things. And there was a lot of fresh food to eat, and generally most people were happy.’

‘And then, what happened next?’ Matthew asked. His granny paused.

‘There was something about 2020 but can we talk about it another time, son? I’m enjoying the sunshine and feel a little tired.’

Gerdette Rooney

Copyright to writers cited above.

Images credits: trains Wix Denis Chick.

SSOA writers' blogs are made possible through the support of City of Sydney grant assistance.


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