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In 2020, These Things Came Out on Top

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If you, like me, are a messy person whose M.Q. matches that of the people you live with, well, this is our moment. No longer must we hide in the shadowy dirty clothes piles and overflowing junk drawers of society. Tidying up for guests? Hosting guests is canceled! Need to clear the table for dinner? Nope, that’s a workstation now, we’re eating on the bed again. And as I wrote this, from my standing desk at home, I paused to search for my yoga mat. Unable to find it, I asked my roommate to help. No luck.

“It’s not, like, a small thing. How could we lose it?” I asked her. She smirking and said: “Come on.”

Even The New Yorker, that most august and pristine of publications, acknowledged this lifestyle on a recent cover. It featured an illustration of a woman sitting at her home desk, fully put together — from the waist up, just enough to look good for a Zoom happy hour. Outside of the view of her laptop’s camera was a house in disarray. Tim Herrera

When the television writer Cord Jefferson accepted an Emmy for “Watchmen” earlier this year, he thanked his parents, his fellow writers and of course the show’s director. He also thanked his therapist, Ian, who, he said, had “changed my life in many ways.”

Self-care may be the mental health tonic of the moment, but there’s nothing like good old-fashioned talk therapy after nine long, deadly months of a pandemic. These days, you’re only human if you’re falling apart. (No, really: According to a new Gallup survey, Americans’ assessment of our mental health is “worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades.”) In the absence of national leadership, at least we’ve got our therapists.

Of course, any “winner” of 2020 is probably also kind of a loser, or at least that’s what my new therapist tells me. Therapy wins in that we could all use someone to talk to, and now we can do it from our couches. It wins in that there are a variety of start-ups working to close gaps in the system, and because some geographic regulations have been waived, meaning patients now have access to treatment in communities other than their own. (Mine, who I will probably never meet in person, lives in Northampton, Mass.)

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