What a year this has been! I was filled with such optimism at the beginning of the year after 2019 left me feeling a bit weary. My mindset was positive, and I was eager to look forward to a new decade.
When life as we knew it started to unravel just after the start of the year, my positive mindset began to weaken and transitioned to a realistic mindset. As life came to a screeching halt, and the dust settled, I started looking for lessons that you, dear 2020, were teaching me. Some have been life-altering, and others more lighthearted, but I’m determined to salvage this dumpster fire.
You’ve taught me that plans are a luxury, not a necessity. When school came to an abrupt stop in March, it caused great anxiety to everyone I knew. It took so much strength to get through each day, juggling suddenly working from home, managing crisis schooling, and trying to stay afloat. Then this Fall, when we suddenly had to self-isolate due to exposure, my son and I quickly adjusted to yet another “new normal.” Thanks to the many opportunities to pivot, we have learned resilience.
You’ve allowed me to breathe. Initially when the world came to a stop, I wasn’t sure how to handle all of the changes that were happening at once. I loved that our busy family schedule suddenly became empty. I had often lamented the busy-ness of our family, and I could feel like I could finally take a deep, cleansing breath. I took stock of relationships, activities, priorities, and ways to spend my time. This pause button on life allowed me to space to evaluate and reincorporate the activities and relationships that generated life to me and those around me. When we decided to cancel our summer vacation, we came up with ways to make new family memories with day trips to socially distanced destinations and celebrating the simple life instead of pursuing a big week long vacation.
You’ve allowed me to reach out when I’m struggling. Everyone in the world was in some way affected by the circumstances of this pandemic. I’ve heard it said, “Everyone is experiencing the same storm, but not everyone is in the same boat.” Whew, if that isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is! I know plenty of people who talk about living their best lives during this year with less on the schedule, more time at home, and plenty of time to explore nature and have no FOMO since nothing is going on. I also know plenty of people who have been personally affected by COVID-19, either by losing loved ones, jobs, or both. The impacts of this storm are so individualized, but thankfully I have learned that it is so important to reach out. I’ve established some new patterns of behavior that include mental health check-ins with a few trusted people.
You’ve helped me take social media with a grain of salt. Social media can be used as a great way to shine lights on the best parts of society. Seeing people mobilize to support front-liners was inspiring, and helped those of us staying home to do our part. However, it has also served to provide a platform for division and breed reasons for distrust and a method for stirring the proverbial pot while sharing information that might be full of half-truths or misinformation. I’ve learned the importance of seeking out information from reputable sources, and that much of what we see on social media may not be accurate. I’ve relegated my social media accounts to be more of a virtual scrapbook, a place to post updates on my life in order to stay connected with those near and far, and find out about local events, but not to use it as a primary source for information.
You’ve introduced me to the importance of being comfortable. Since I’ve started working from home for the first time in my career, I’ve never been more comfortable in my life. I’ve found a few pair of exercise leggings with pockets that have become my uniform. I throw on a plain tee shirt, cardigan, and earrings, and I’m ready for back-to-back Zooms. I also realized that I’ve been missing out in my adult life on wearing pajamas that double as clothes. I found some wide legged, soft, black pants, and a baggy gray shirt that have served as my outfit to pick kids up from practice on more than one occasion. I can say that 2020 will not be the last year that I consider comfort over fashion.
You’ve re-connected me to people that I love. Since there was so much unknown this year, and visits in person with loved ones was not possible, I loved thinking outside of the box to stay connected to loved ones. My family established family Zoom sessions several times a month. I had happy hours with friends in different states over Zoom, and it almost felt like a girls night out!
The fact that 20/20 is perfect vision is not lost on me. As the year comes to a close, I hope and pray that my vision for my life has improved through this challenging year.
Peace Out, 2020