Welcome to Midnight (2020 Edition)

By Jamie TworkowskiDecember 17, 2020

“Welcome to Midnight” has become a TWLOHA tradition. Every December since 2011, we revisit a conversation about possibility and change, framed within the celebration of a moment, the famous midnight when one year ends and another year begins.

The blog i wrote almost a decade ago starts with the words, “Five. Four. Three. Two. One.” That countdown feels a bit silly today. Because 2020 has been the strangest hardest year we’ve ever known. How on-brand for 2020 to be the year that just refuses to end.

So many of us feel defeated and it’s tempting to wonder if 2021 will simply be more of the same: More masks, more Zoom calls, more confusion and division, few hugs, no gatherings. We miss so much of the way things were. We miss sitting across from friends at coffee shops and restaurants. We miss airplanes to other places. We miss the people in those places. We miss concerts and festivals that offered not only music but inspiration and connection.

While it’s true that the start of 2021 might look a lot like 2020, it’s also true that there are reasons to believe the year ahead will be different. From leadership to medical advances, things are happening. Change is on the horizon. And though we may not agree on every detail, perhaps we can agree on this: We are people in need of hope. “Welcome to Midnight” was and is ultimately about hope.

On that note, i want to share an idea that resonated with me recently. Mariame Kaba said, “Hope isn’t an emotion, you know? Hope isn’t optimism. Hope is a discipline.” A sentence added by Rebecca Solnit is actually what stood out to me the most: “Hope is a commitment to the future.”

Hope is a commitment to the future. 


That idea changes the game. It says there’s more to this than simply how we feel. It says hope is not contingent on circumstance. It says, “I’m in, no matter what.”

Life is worth living no matter what. Life can be good no matter what.

If COVID sticks around forever, life is still worth living.
If romantic love never ever finds me, life can still be good.
If our country and our world remain divided and misguided, life is still worth living.
If we can’t agree on truth or science, life is still worth living.
In the midst of disagreement and uncertainty and injustice, life is still worth living.
Come what may, life can still be good.
Come what may, life is still worth living.

A commitment to the future means we’ll stay alive as long as we can.
We’ll fight to be healthy, we’ll fight to love ourselves—with every single day we get.
We’ll fight for what is good, we’ll fight for other people, today and tomorrow and ten thousand days from now.
We’ll fight to be the change we wish to see, in big ways and small, in ourselves and all around us.

As 2020 comes to a close, it would make sense to say there’s not a lot of wind in our sails. It would be reasonable to feel defeated, lost, or even hopeless. But another year waits out on that horizon. Another midnight invites us to be curious, to make our way to open water, to wonder once again.

And maybe hope is not a marriage to the wind. What if hope instead is just a promise to keep sailing, an agreement with the air that’s in our lungs, to see it always as a gift?

We’ll show up. We’ll be curious. We’ll go through storms and calm and monsters. We’ll see a thousand different things. We’ll be grateful all the while, smiling at the other boats around us. What a boon to know a sailor, to be loved by someone else.

If hope is a commitment to the future, then we’re committed, regardless of the future.

Count me in and come what may.

Life can still be good. Life is still worth living.

Welcome back to midnight.

Let’s see what’s on the other side.

You can order your Welcome to Midnight Shirt (available in short or long sleeve) in the Online Store here.

As we look toward 2021 with hope, we get to make a commitment—to ourselves and to each other. We get to decide what we will work for, what we will fight for. So we want to know: What will you commit to in 2021? Tell us online by tagging TWLOHA and using the #WelcometoMidnight hashtag.

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Comments (4)

  1. Michelle Stiffler

    Absolutely beautiful. Hope is active – always. Patience is active. No lying down and getting comfortable, but plenty to enjoy in the pursuit. Thanks for these good words!

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  2. Mikaela Ens

    Crying as I read this. Thank you for sharing these words. Health issues have caused so much chaos in my life this year as well as bringing about past trauma memories and anxiety triggers. It is overwhelming but words like these remind me that life is worth living. So thank you.

    Reply  |  
  3. Don Kennedy


    Reply  |  
  4. Numa

    No gatherings,no hugs, no sitting across from friends at coffee shops or restaurants… Yes, that describes my 2020. And pretty much describes as well my 2019, 2018, 2017… I m lucky so far, no one near me suffered from covid, and it was easy peasy for me as my life did not change much and knowing that there was nothing I could do to make things better gave me some peace of mind.
    Happy new day, every day to everyone

    Reply  |  
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