By Stacey Buttel – Career Facilitator, Goodwill Columbus

2020 has been quite the ride.  In thinking about one word to describe this upside-down year, I would have to go with “Miraitowa.”  Actually, Miraitowa is not exactly a word, as it really is a name.  As you know many life events were put on hold, postponed, or all together canceled.  Many concerts that I bought tickets for were refunded, vacations canceled, and my favorite running races postponed until a later date, or better put, “see you next year!”  The fate of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games did not escape the wrath of 2020 as these events were too postponed.  I think of the world class athletes who trained their entire life for this competition.  2020 disappointment did not even escape them.  Therefore, I chose Miraitowa to represent this year.

Miraitowa is actually the name of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot.  According to the Tokyo 2020 website, it has a personality inspired by the Japanese proverb, “learn from the past and develop new ideas.”  Miraitowa is cheerful and remarkably athletic, with a strong sense of integrity.  It has a special power to instantly teleport anywhere it wants.  The name Miraitowa is based on the Japanese words “mirai” meaning future and “towa” meaning eternity.  This name also represents the wish that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will lead to a future of everlasting hope in the hearts of everyone in the world.

As I reflect upon this year, I believe we can relate to what this mascot represents.  I would say that in my experiences, I had no choice but to learn from the past and develop new ideas.  Once we were sent away from the office to work from home, we had to adapt and create new ways of delivering our services.  Now, the Goodwill Workforce Development Department has all new social media channels, new ways of connecting and reaching people, new ways of advertising our free services, and even a blog!  I believe that our department remained cheerful (remarkably athletic is still in question) and maintained a strong sense of integrity.  Even though I truly wish that we had a special power to instantly teleport anywhere we want (did someone say private island in the Caribbean?), we certainly teleported to a new way of working and living.  I would like to say that I am getting used to it, but in some manner I am not.  I miss the human interaction, the daily smiles and in person chats with my coworkers, family and friends.  I miss going out to eat at restaurants, rocking out at concerts, and questioning my sanity while running half marathons.  However, I will vow to maintain an everlasting hope in my heart that in the years to come, it will get better even though it may look different.  Thanks, Miraitowa for the inspiration.

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