We know 2020 was an unforgettably tough year, but believe it or not, there were some good things that happened.

It's hard to come up with exactly the right words to describe 2020. Hard seems like an understatement; unpredictable does not quite cut it; everyone is ready to leave this one behind and start with a shiny New Year. Despite all the curveballs and craziness, plenty of bright moments happened this year and we think they're worth talking about.

Take a look back with us at our favorite things that happened in 2020:

Howling

You may have heard it, every night at 8 p.m. the howls started rising. Howling for friends, howling for family, howling to support those fighting the hard fight against COVID-19 on the front lines. The howling started, it became a trend and to be honest it felt good. Though it has died down in recent months, there are some faithful who still head out every night, and in some areas like Denver, Colorado, calls to start the nightly howl again have been growing.

Music and Comedy

Nightly music concerts also started during the pandemic, with people reaching out through their melody to connect with others. Music brings people together, lets people express themselves, shares emotion, and, in some cases, inspires a love connection. Artists released new music, special concerts online, and socially distanced performances on social media. Many famous musicians banded together to create music and raise money to help others in the business who lost work and wages, showing that it is about more than just flashy clothes and big crowds. Despite not being able to perform to live audiences, the music never stopped. 

We all grew a newfound appreciation for laughter during 2020, and some of our favorite comedians and personalities made sure to keep those laughs flowing, despite the chaos that was 2020.

Adopting Pets

man with puppy
Courtesy of Pixabay

One of our favorite things about 2020 has been the number of pets that have been fostered and adopted. Shelters have reported pets leaving in record numbers. With so many people at home, working remotely, and doing things differently this year they have opened their homes and hearts to fur babies and four-legged family members. It's a beautiful thing, and we, for one, are happy to hear it. With everything going on this year, the world needs as much love as it can get, and we need more cute cat and dog videos!

Less Pollution

With everyone staying home and driving less, flying less, and using less fuel to get around, air pollution also dropped. Places like Washington, D.C., reported having the cleanest air in decades, and research showed that carbon dioxide emissions were down during pandemic shutdowns and periods of stay at home. Satellite images showed big cities like Denver, Colorado, with cleaner air after the huge reduction in traffic. 

Reading

boy reading a book
Photo by Maël BALLAND from Pexels

2020 brought us the trend of celebrities reading to us in virtual storytimes—and it was, in a word, awesome. From Samuel L. Jackson to Dolly Parton, to Michelle Obama, storytime with celebrities became one of those things that kept people going during some pretty dark times. Here is to the power of a friendly face, a soothing voice, and a good book! 

In addition to virtual storytimes, a lot of people rediscovered a love of reading. Some places like Virginia even started having library books delivered by drone! With extra time at home, we started paying extra attention to books, and bookshelves. Along with all the different ways to read and listen, what people had on their shelves during virtual meetings became a trending topic.

Zoom Fails and Successes

When the pandemic shut everything down and sent everyone to work from home, video meetings became the normal platform to conduct business. While some folks were already well versed, there were a ton of folks who were not. Nothing short of hilarity ensued when people accidentally showed their colleagues they were in their underwear or when kids, pets, and spouses popped in. There were also ways to add farm animals to your meetings and lots of spicy backgrounds to make your coworkers giggle. Some people even went viral, like this woman who accidentally turned herself into a potato and could not turn herself back!  

Video chats turned out to be a vital part of maintaining our human connection. People found ways to stream movies together, host PowerPoint parties, celebrate milestones like weddings, and spent time together apart to remember those they have lost. We realized how vital that human connection is, and it was strengthened, in part, due to the ability to connect online.

Sweatpants

woman working from home, sweatpants
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

One silver lining to 2020 is that sweatpants and comfy pants have become acceptable business-casual attire. Working from home has made people genuinely enjoy the relaxation and ease of sweatpants. Gone are the pressures of looking perfect at all times in the workplace. We have all relaxed a little bit and let people see us for who we are, comfy pants and all. All joking aside, sweatpants are awesome, and we hope that the trend stays for a long time.

Drive-In Theaters Made a Comeback 

The pandemic shut down movie theaters for months, and an unexpected side effect was the resurgence of the American drive-in movie theater. Once something that was plentiful, the drive-in movie theater has become a relic of the past. This spring and summer, drive-in movie theaters were a safe way to socially distance and catch a show, and business was booming. Walmart and mall parking lots, devoid of customers, were turned into theaters and became a great way for people to still find a way to get out for a bit and stay safe. 

Monoliths

2020 threw a lot at us, and part of that was a couple of genuine mysteries. One of them included monoliths. The mysterious structures started popping up and then quickly disappearing all around the world after one was found in the remote desert of Utah. More soon followed, and though they became a fad, of sorts, the mystery remains of where and who started the whole thing. It all seems a little bit silly, and that's okay. Sometimes, a little silly goes a long way. 

Nature

man and child hiking
Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

Nature is one of our most favorite things from 2020. This was the year the world fell back in love with nature. With businesses closed and travel limited, we began to explore the natural wonders in our own backyards. A new appreciation for what a day outside feels like was born from the pandemic, and people were inspired to tackle mountains that seemed too high, explore new places, and rediscover old favorites. 

2020 also saw the wild world emerge, as we saw animals reclaim the empty streets of cities gone silent and watched as people captured amazing animal encounters on video. 2020 reminded us all that we live on a wild, amazing planet, and that we should appreciate everything it has to offer.

The Human Spirit

heart shape made of hands
Courtesy of Pixabay

The best thing about 2020, above all else, is that this year showed us the resilience and beauty of the human spirit. People stepped up in hard times to help others, like this teacher who raised her student's newborn baby brother when his mom got COVID-19. Volunteers made thousands of masks and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help get personal protective equipment and gear for healthcare and frontline workers when there was a shortage. People across the country took to garages and living rooms, using their own equipment and skills to invent new things and try and meet the growing needs.

People began making music, creating art, writing amazing stories. Communities worked together to support others in need, through volunteering, online donations, fundraisers, and more. The human spirit showed us what it's made of, and it's a lot stronger than anything 2020 brought. 

As we bid 2020 goodbye and open the door to 2021, we want to remember the good moments from 2020 and remind ourselves (and you) that we're all in this together. We made it through one of the hardest years on record, and that's something to be grateful for. From the team at OCN, have a very Happy New Year! 

What was your favorite moment from 2020? We want to hear about it in the comments.