For the record, I wrote this in mid-October. Amidst a pandemic on the uptick again around the world, holding the very real fear that it is going to get increasingly worse as it coincides with the cooler months, holidays, and flu season. Before the results of a tumultuous election came in, knowing full-well they would likely remain in turmoil for several months. As fires spread through the West and hurricanes gripped the Gulf. As emotional, physical, and mental fatigue was at an all-time high.
But I truly believe 2021 will be better.
Why? Because we’re better. 2020 has taught us so much about ourselves, and even in our missteps, we have learned invaluable lessons.
We don’t like it, we don’t want it, we hope it ends soon, but for every single thing 2020 has thrown us, we’re still here. We get up every day, put one foot in front of the other, and do all we can to survive even if we can’t quite thrive just now.
Those who’ve had pay cuts, job loss, or even just adjusted to working from home, have found ways to make it work—cut corners, save money, earn in unique ways, and even reach out when needed. We’ve figured out where our money is best spent, which services are essential to us, and which we can do without. We’ve considered how and where we can give back.
And that’s a good thing. We’re tired of the politics, the fighting, the anxiety, the stress, the news. We’re ready to bring back our compassion for one another and rebuild together.
We’ve Done This Already
We know we can do it again. If forced into a full quarantine again, we know how to do the shopping for several weeks at a time, how to keep ourselves occupied, to keep spirits up. We’ve worked out the online schooling, Zoom meeting, virtual gaming, FaceTiming kinks. We’ve found ways to exercise from home, meal plan better, reduce stress, etc.
We’re Less Rigid
The virus has ebbed and flowed, and we’ve learned to adapt. We can hunker down when need be, and we can live life using safety precautions when able. We’ve begun to see that very little is black and white, and that has extended into more grace, understanding, and compassion in all areas of life.
You might not see it until you’re on the other side, but we have all grown and learned a great deal. The doctors and scientists are learning. They’ve been studying the virus extensively; possible drugs and vaccines are on the horizon. Our children are learning. Whether in-person, virtually, or homeschooled, our children are receiving an education and growing. We’re reading more, discussing more, reflecting more. Perhaps most importantly, we recognize we can only control our own thoughts, words, actions, and reactions.
Some of us so-called strong people have learned when to cry uncle. We’ve learned to reach out to a friend, a counselor, or a family member and just admit we’re having a bad day. We’ve let ourselves cry and feel these hard emotions. We’ve learned to be real. We’re addressing mental health and finding ways to work through feelings of stress, overwhelm, depression, and anxiety.
We’ve Dug Deep
We have had time to revaluate the big things and have found a message in the mess. We’re having the hard talks. We’re either on more solid ground or we have a clearer sense of where we want to be and how to get there. We have been able to sift through the busyness and find what is most essential to us. We’ve strengthened friendships and let go of some that just weren’t meant to be anymore. We’ve explored our faith. We’ve identified areas we need to work on, alone, in our marriages, in our lives.
We’re Paying Attention
We’re noticing more. We’re seeing those precious moments with the kids, finding out little details we might have missed in the typical hustle and bustle. We’re finding things within ourselves too. We’re remembering what it is that brings us true joy, what hobbies we once enjoyed, taking off the makeup and letting the hair dye fade.
We’ve Remembered What’s Important
We’ve brought the focus back to family. We see each other more clearly and make time for one another. We’re redefining our day-to-day rhythm, exploring what’s most important to us, and embracing this time together. We’ve made memories and want to make more.
We’re not naïve, but we’re optimistic. All of this isn’t just going to go away as soon as the ball drops and we enter into the new year. We know there will be much more heartache, stress, angst, and unknown in the coming year. However, we shouldn’t fear or dread 2021. Instead, we can enter the new year with newfound energy and confidence knowing we are growing and evolving through the lessons we’ve learned in 2020.
Even though we wish we didn’t have to.