january 2020 photo meme

miguelAbueno/Twitter KatBarrell/Twitter

This meme shows off our blissfully unaware selves from January 2020

How naive we all were!

Sep 1, 2020, 5:54 pm*

Internet Culture

Jeremy Steinberger 

Jeremy Steinberger

January was an optimistic time. The dawn of a new decade brought hopes of a restart. We tweeted #2020vision with goals and aspirations.

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Well, we should have known. As the month progressed, reports about the coronavirus worsened. We lost a living giant. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and six others were killed in a tragic helicopter crash. The world only slipped further and further into mayhem each day since.

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Thankfully, social media has been there for us through it all. Since the pandemic began, it’s been a well of not just vital news and information but also light-hearted memes that excavate the small tidbits of joy remaining in this treacherous year.

Today's meme of the day: “A photo of you in January 2020 without imagining what was to come.” The meme captures the dichotomy of our January blissful ignorance and our current delusion.

Canadian actress @KatBarrell posted a photo of her sipping a cold beverage at a foamy pool party, stating, "This may be the most blissfully unaware I’ve been in my whole life."

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Writer Kathleen Newman-Bremang posted a video from her January birthday celebration gone wrong. In the video, she is at a restaurant with a group as they, along with restaurant staff, sing "Happy Birthday" to her. She leans a little too close to her birthday dessert that's topped with a lit candle, and her hair catches on fire. The video abruptly ends as screams ring out. “SHOULD HAVE CALLED THE YEAR OFF RIGHT THEN,” she aptly wrote.

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The first posting of the meme, according to Know Your Meme, is credited to user @gabrielgranadoo, who tweeted out a photo of himself with a life-size statue of Dobby from Harry Potter on Aug. 11. “CHAIN A photo of you happy in January 2020 without imagining what was to come," he wrote in Portuguese at the time. The challenge made its way to English-language Twitter on Aug. 29 after user @miguelAbueno partook in it with a photo of himself at the Huddersfield railway station in the U.K., captioning it in both Spanish and English. 

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But it was @Anna_R_Jones, who delivered a reality check.

"The problem with this 'photo of you in January 2020 without imagining what would come' meme is that in January 2020 we were writing a story a day about this new virus and many countries in Asia were already shutting borders. And no-one else was doing anything," @Anna_R_Jones wrote.

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*First Published: Sep 1, 2020, 5:53 pm