Oh boy. Did you ever think back in, hey, just 2019, that we’d end up where we are now? The world has changed significantly over the course of a year, but honestly, the writing has been on the wall for a while now that things are about to get real.
1. Celebrity status is now cemented as a valid work background as a politician, even president
Yep, Kanye is making a swing at getting on the ballot for the next election in the US. Crazy? No, considering both Trump and Schwarzenegger paved the way have gone on to be successfully voted in, after serving as a reality TV star (/businessman) and action movie hero, respectively.
Celebrities are (mostly) aware that they get a huge platform to speak from: they already have household name recognition. In fact, this is why Taylor Swift said she kept her political opinions to herself for so long. She believed that she was ‘just a pop singer’ so her approval or disapproval of political goings-on shouldn’t be used to sway her listener’s votes. She ended up changing her tune, but it really speaks to the reasons why we shouldn’t listen to celebs just because they’re in our faces.
Instead (sorry, Ye) we should look to people experienced in politics, leadership, international relations, and industry, instead of celebrities who have experience in their craft, marketing, and jet setting. Instead, politicians should listen to celebs as consultants – they have a unique world view which can be useful to hear.
2. International travel is no longer a thing
Planning your next far-flung island getaway? Ha! Hahaha! Yeah… about that.
Throw your mind waaaay back, back to the beginning of 2020. International travel was more affordable than ever. Your Instagram was filled with stories from your mates time at the Maldives, or Bali, or Croatia. Life was grand and you were excited for your summer trip this year. Then came Covid and now international travel is only really for EU citizens (and maybe not even) and everywhere else is closed. No stamps on your passport, ridiculously expensive flights, and zero tourist visas anyway.
Hope you’re happy holidaying somewhere close to home or getting the green screen out and just pretending. How many airlines will collapse before this is all over? How much will the tickets be afterward? When are we going to get to travel? Who. Knows.
3. We’re doing evvvverything online
Working from home, attending classes online, socializing via Zoom. Everyone has had to get used to doing their regular ‘in-person’ activities in a stripped-back, purely online form. And it’s worked for the most part.
Even activities you may not have thought of have shifted online – for instance, gamblers stepping away from the huge, luxury casinos they’re used to playing at in favor of online houses. Of course, these land-based casinos have something their online counterparts cannot replicate (it’s good but not quite the same). When you enter you feel the energy, the scale of the places, and, unless you’re a billionaire, you may feel a little intimidated.
With such a huge shift online, it’s unlikely we’ll see the pendulum swing back entirely the other way to in-person activities. It’s great not having to wear pants, after all.
There is now such a thing as BC and AC: Before COVID-19 and After COVID-19, and it is apparent that there is a shift in international relations during these time periods. While there may not be a significant shift in power dynamics between different countries – yet – there certainly has been some interesting ripples as different countries, and even different regions within countries, feel dismayed at others’ policies.
4. International relations have shifted
Of course, much of this international shift has to do with the posture of the US, with Europeans now alarmed at the rising rates of coronavirus and wondering why US citizens aren’t more concerned with their health. There’s also the president out here returning to calling COVID-19 “The China Virus” which strains already fraught tensions between the two superpowers. The meddling of Russia in both the US elections and (allegedly) Brexit. People are still wary of China and yet intrigued as to how cleverly they’ve seemingly handled their internal coronavirus situation.
To sum up: it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
However, these new emerging dynamics are unlikely to go away, or back to the way they were any time soon, if at all. It’s going to be a very interesting few years to come.
The world has changed and it’s still changing – faster and faster. Let’s see where we end up next, hey? And can 2020 please be over already?