So many suffered in 2020.
Sickness, deaths, job loss, and more. By no means am I disregarding or disrespecting that pain, hardship, or grieving. Some will appreciate the intent within this message, while others may not. That’s up to your perspective and your decision to make.
This New Year’s Eve, I am taking the time to closely examine the whole year and the many things I am grateful for. Things that may have never come to be had COVID-19 not changed the way we live and interact.
Here are my top five:
1. Friendships. The pandemic halted my on-the-run-24/7 lifestyle. There was no leaving the house at 6 a.m. to return at 10 p.m. There were no after-work activities to rush off to. I was forced home and given the opportunity to truly become a part of the community where I reside.
Neighbors who were people I said hello to in passing became better acquaintances, and some became close friends. We masked up for tea and spent time in the halls getting to really know one another. I am so grateful for the wonderful friendships that blossomed this year. Each has truly enriched my life in countless ways.
2. Simplicity. This year revealed how we are often the ones responsible for creating complexity and chaos in our lives. We fill each minute of our schedule—feel the need to constantly be productive and buy material things to make us happy.
This year slowed us down and gave us a chance to discover what really matters in life. How simple our lives could remain in the future if we allow for it. A hot cup of tea and a good book. Netflix and popcorn. A walk by the sea and fresh air. The joys and comforts of home.
I no longer welcome life’s unnecessary complications. I have opened my mind and heart to the simplicity of just being. And that’s quite enough.
3. Relationships. This year I burned bridges and mended fences. Hearts were broken, and hearts were healed. Ties were strengthened, and new friendships blossomed. I learned that the willingness to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there could perform miracles.
I grew closer to many I work with because video conferencing brought us into each other’s homes where we experience real-life stuff—screaming kids, barking dogs, and doorbells ringing. We’ve met each other’s families, had virtual happy hours, and connected with colleagues around the globe thanks to the immediate need for a transition to a video workday.
Most importantly, I learned that no matter how much I cherish and need my solitude, life is complete when we allow others into our world to celebrate—or commiserate—together. I have built a support system and network that I may have never experienced before COVID-19.
4. Resurrection. Removing the daily commute and other busyness from my life, I was allowed to find new ways to invest my time. The new turned out to be resurrecting the pages of a book I’d been working on for years and making a commitment to my writing.
If there is one activity in life that I’m most passionate about, it is the written word. When I started this blog, my goal was to hold myself publicly accountable to that commitment. I wasn’t expecting to get published again so quickly or connect with writers around the globe who would make such a difference in my world.
My commitment has transformed into a need as primal as food, clothing, and shelter. I am compelled to write and share, to be of benefit to others, and guide them along their life’s journey.
5. Reflection. I’ve dived deeply into my heart, mind, and soul to examine where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. I’ve learned that I’ve been a roadblock in my own life, holding myself back and keeping myself from accomplishing what I sincerely want to achieve.
I’ve learned that my insecurities and fears have caused unnecessary problems in my relationships and overcome the need to push those closest to me away rather than let my flawed self stand there naked in emotion. The biggest gain from this year has been liberation—in so many ways.
I’ve discovered what I need in my life to be satisfied, content, and fulfilled. I’ve made a commitment to myself to ensure those things are a priority—not something I get around to later. I don’t take tomorrow for granted and know that we must be present, in every way, today; no if’s, and’s or but’s.
Let’s face it. Nothing magical happens at midnight, and the world won’t change on January 1st. Our life goes on as it is today, the ups and downs, highs and lows. We are each traveling our journey, and we get the opportunity to make a fresh start on any given day, at any given moment, should we choose to.
So as we close out 2020 and welcome the hopes of that fresh start that accompanies the ticking of the clock when it strikes midnight, may we look at what the past 10 months gave to us rather than what it took away.
And may we bring love, faith, and compassion into 2021.
Happy and healthy new year.