I’m hearing it everywhere, especially from middle-aged people and seniors: 2020 is a year unlike any they’ve ever experienced. Sure, some years are really difficult, while others seem to fly by. But 2020? How can it even be described? And how can we keep up with the ever-evolving daily news, let alone get anything else done? And this year is far from over.
New Year’s is the number one holiday celebrated around the globe because of its universal and non-denominational nature. All you need to celebrate New Year’s is a belief in the calendar and a little hope for the future. And since 2020 also began a new decade, this past New Year’s Eve seemed particularly significant. If you raised a glass and declared that 2020 would be filled with lots of change, well, you were correct.
But who could’ve predicted the types of change? And the speed at which those changes would occur? Who thought as they rang in the new year that our world would be united again in just a few months, not in celebration, but by a global pandemic that would sicken and kill millions? Or that the people gathering, cheering, and enjoying firework displays in iconic locations would soon find themselves locked down in their homes, afraid to venture out in fear of contracting the deadly virus? Or worse, mourning the loss of loved ones to COVID-19?
Who could’ve imagined on January 1st, as they kissed, called, and texted friends with wishes of health, peace, and prosperity, that in late May, the world—now wearing facemasks, social distancing, washing hands as often as possible, and accepting lots of new normals—would once again be shaken to the core by the horrific murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer? And that this would be the year when America would finally, finally begin to actively acknowledge—as a nation—the existence of systemic racism in our culture? That we’d finally, finally begin to listen—as a nation—intently to the millions of voices of people of color in our country and finally, finally begin working for real, structural change.
Emotions, are, understandably, all over the place. Speaking on a personal level, I find myself in desperate tears one moment, only to be crying tears of joy at images of the thousands of peaceful Black Lives Matter protests all over the world and believing in my heart that this could be the year everything changes for the better. Nothing can ever make up for the unspeakable injustice the U.S. has inflicted on people of color for centuries, and nothing can ever right the wrongs of lives lost and destroyed, but the hope that the future will be brighter is truly encouraging.
Hope alone, however, won’t bring about change. Change only happens when humans dedicate time and energy to it, and that’s where we all come in. I don’t need to mention the names of the appalling, disgraceful American leaders—one in particular—who must be removed from power in order for systemic change to happen. And in the months leading up to the November election, every moment will be critical. This time around, no American can say, “it doesn’t really matter who wins,” or “both parties are essentially the same.” These statements are categorically untrue, and it’s critical that all Americans are allowed to vote and vote safely. Unfortunately, even this fundamental American right is being challenged right now. In other words, before we get to celebrate New Year’s Eve again—perhaps in a less racist world, with a vaccine for COVID available or right around the corner, and a new American president—we’ll need to stay in the moment, prepared to work.
So I’m going back to wearing a wristwatch. That’s right. Because I’ve recently realized that I spend a ridiculous amount of time out of the moment, primarily on my smartphone. Ever since embracing cellphone culture, I stopped wearing a watch, because who needs two timepieces when one will suffice? Me, apparently. I pull out the phone to check the time and end up scrolling through social media, responding to non-urgent texts, reading non-urgent email, or going down some other unfulfilling path seductively offered by my smartphone. Don’t get me wrong: humans absolutely need to take breaks, but the number of smartphone detours I allow myself on a daily basis is excessive.
I was actually in the process of looking at watches online when Nordgreen, a Danish watch company approached me to ask if I’d write an honest review of their product in exchange for a free timepiece. I did a bit of research and agreed. And I’m glad I did. For starters, the watch is lovely. Nordgreen allowed me to choose from their extensive collection of styles and colors, so I was able to find exactly what I’d been hoping for: a good-sized face (the watch I chose is actually recommended for a man, but I’ve always favored large, chunky jewelry, and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be either) and a clean, minimalist design. I’m no fashionista, but since I plan to wear the watch a lot, I wanted something I really like. This one fills the bill. The chief designer at Nordgreen is Jakob Wagner, who’s well-known for collaborating with brands like Bang & Olufsen, and has a fixed collection at the MoMa in NYC. At the top of this post is a photo of me wearing my choice, The Pioneer Chronograph, a recent winner of the prestigious Red Dot design award.
As for functionality, the watch works great, it’s very lightweight, and I really like the chronograph (stopwatch) feature. It feels smooth on my wrist, and the leather strap is soft and comfortable. I also like that it’s water resistant up to 3ATM, and rain resistant. And the strap is removable/replaceable, so I hope to be able to wear it for years to come, even if the strap breaks or I want a change in the future. It comes with a limited 24-month warranty.
Also, as someone who does her best to preserve our environment and buy responsibly, I admire Nordgreen’s commitment to sustainability in both its packaging and products. They use cardboard paper from responsibly managed forests, and felt cushioning made from upcycled plastic bottles. They also claim to plant enough trees (thousands) to offset carbon emissions from their offices in Copenhagen, as well as their global shipments. In addition, they partner with overseas manufacturers (the watches are made in Asia) to ensure that all production facilities adhere to high standards and Danish labor practices.
Finally, Nordgreen has established a Giving Back Program, which partners with three reputable NGOs: Water for Good, Pratham, UK, and Cool Earth. You can read more about these excellent NGOs by following their links, but here’s the bottom line: After you receive a Nordgreen watch, you enter its unique serial number on Nordgreen online form, and choose the NGO that speaks most to you. Then Nordgreen makes a donation to that NGO.
What’s not to like? As a new Nordgreen aficionado, I’m giving this watch 5 out of 5 stars, and hope to enjoy it for years to come. I also hope it helps me become a more productive, “in the moment” person as 2020 inevitably presents the world with new and important challenges.
Wishing you peace,