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Eternal Wednesday

Paulo Areas, Creative Partner at Forever Beta, compares 2020 to a big Hollywood production and a hero's journey

Movies have always been huge for me. To the point that I have made a list of the 250 most important movies in my life, and I use this list almost as guidance in any upcoming situation I might face.

I dare say, that almost every moment I have ever lived, somehow, relates to one of these movie scripts, and if not, it is because I have not watched that movie yet. From the relationship I have with my father, mirrored on Tim Burton’s Big Fish, to the way I understand faith from Kevin Smith’s Dogma. On every new life experience a movie script comes automatically into my mind, and if it doesn’t, I write it down hoping that one day I might produce that script myself.
 
Needless to say that 2020 felt like a big Hollywood production, and although people have experienced it in different ways, visiting genres like apocalyptic fiction or homemade horror, when I think about the last 12 months before the light hits the screen, I cannot avoid hearing Pennsylvania's Polka playing on the back of my mind.

Yes, our collective 2020 journey was very similar to that of Bill Murray’s character on Groundhog Day. Or as I liked to say, an eternal Wednesday.

Working from home, in the beginning, felt like a call for adventure. We were masters of our own schedule, exploring the boundaries of our fridges and culinary possibilities, engaging in new relationships with people we’ve lived with forever and mostly, standing in front of our small screens like celebrities in Punxsutawney, not caring for the background or how many times we were saying “mate, you are on mute”.
 
As the hero journey evolved, or in this case, repeated itself, along came the challenges and the temptations of lockdown. Just like Phil in the movie, we started to believe that was no consequence to our acts, and consequently, the meetings in pyjamas became a thing, along with double breakfasts and biscuit crumbles on the keyboard. We became reckless, reaching deep to find meaning and surrounded by deep snow that would not let us leave that place.
 
But summer arrived, and so did the character transformation. Light was coming through the window in a different way and filled the room with hope. That is when we decided to use the time better. Some have learned the piano, some have learned to enjoy the loved ones and some decided to sing in their living room. No matter what, there was a little Phil of Punxsutawney growing inside all of us, and just like that, we started to come out, walking, clapping, living. We could feel the wind of change blowing in between the little distance we kept from each other. It felt like a happy ending for that movie, but what is a movie with no twist?
 
The second wave felt harder. And longer. An ultimate challenge on the script. But just like on Groundhog Day, we have grown in this journey and learned that it is not only about ourselves, but about others. Like Bill picking up the kid from the tree, we have engaged with our families, our neighbours, our communities in a way we never did before. We have learned to be present even when we were not. To listen better. To wait for the right moment to talk. We have grown.
 
2020 might have been a tough year, but as time goes by, we will remember it not only because of the many challenges we faced, but mostly because it has made us better. A script that would make any Kaufmann, Coppola or Anderson proud.