Time to sing Auld Lang Sang, count our blessings and finally move on to a new year

Dicembre 27, 20204 Minuti

The climate of fear was brought on by a mistrust of government officials and the press. People could see that while they were being told on the one hand that it’s an ordinary influenza, on the other hand they were seeing their spouse die… they knew that they were being lied to.” John Barry “The Great Influenza” That was 1918. Bayer had just released Aspirin but there were no vaccines, antibiotics, anti-virals or ICU’s. People took it upon themselves to wear masks, self isolate and tie a white rag on the front door if there was a sickness in the household. Fast forward a century and here we are again. At least this time, nature in all her wisdom waited until mankind had invented Amazon and Netflix.

I am as tired of Covid as I am with Trump and the banana republic he’s been trying to create. Like myself, most people don’t want to talk about it anymore but this being the December edition I felt obliged to reflect on the past year. It has been a miserable one. I can’t wait to write “2021” for the first time. Last weekend I went downstairs to pull out the decorations. When the elevator doors opened in the lobby there were two men in front of me struggling to lift a bodybag onto a coroner’s stretcher. The doorman and a woman my age stood nearby with blank stares above their masks. Just across the street is a geriatric hospital where several hundreds of lives have ended in solitude. It’s hard to feel Christmas spirit this year. I won’t be seeing my children anytime soon because of the ongoing travel bans. My youngest is in London. My daughter is in Berlin. I haven’t been able to give her a hug since last February. The oldest flies A320’s out of Barcelona. A year ago it was predicted that there would be a worldwide shortage of up to 500,000 pilots by 2030. Today, he’s lucky to still have a job. Most of his fellow graduates don’t. It is young people like them that will bear the scars, having had everything put on hold during the most important time in their lives.

But there is a silver lining. Mine has been realising what a great group of people I have in my agency and the dedication they have demonstrated. I think they know that I’ve got their back. No lay-offs or dismissals. They’ve gotten engaged, given birth to beautiful children, won awards, acquired new clients and done some truly amazing work. More importantly their families are all safe and healthy. I haven’t seen most of them for months but I hope they all know how grateful I am. Yesterday I had lunch with my managers. We celebrated one of our most successful months on record. I’m filled with pride but I’m also starting to feel a bit expendable. Maybe its time to finally figure out this Zoom thing and let them know that the boss is still alive and kicking. I often try to remember what worries kept me awake at night last year. It feels so long ago. One thing we can all be certain of is that 2021 will bring an end to this and it will be accompanied by a recovery of epic proportions. Hopefully we have also learned something. It will be a happy New Year. My best wishes to all.

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Drew Smith

An award winning designer and an expert in consumer brand management, NPD and packaging design with over twenty years of experience. Canadian by birth, he has been the Creative Director of several leading international consultancies and is a graduate of Art Center College of Design and Sheridan College, School of Visual Arts.