We hear it from all sides: 2020 was a dumpster fire. 2020 was the worst—I can’t wait for 2020 to be over.
What we don’t realize—or perhaps we simply forgot—is that the universe does not operate on our calendar year. The sun rises and sets each day just like it did yesterday, and it will do it again tomorrow.
Yes, it feels comforting to start anew at the beginning of a new year, the same way we tend to start new diets or workout routines on Mondays or the 1st of the month. It feels more complete, more ceremonial.
But why prolong our misery?
If 2020 was awful, why wait until 2021 to make any changes? Why do we wait until January 1st to start resolutions, buy gym memberships, or start eating healthier? I believe it’s the same reason resolutions are usually broken by February: we really don’t want to do it.
For many of us, old buried trauma crept up this year. In combination with isolation and fear, the triggers ran high. Depression and anxiety took over. Overwhelm. Disconnect. Intense grief. If we only were able to function this year, we did enough.
But was that enough? How many of us used COVID-19 as an excuse to not deal with something? How many of us took this trauma of a pandemic and used it to mask our real traumas within that attempt to come forward and be healed?
Maybe we shoved them back down under the guise of depression or loneliness or anger toward an invisible virus enemy. COVID-19 is not an enemy that needs to be battled. It is a virus that exists in the world—that’s all it is.
The real battle that is begging to be fought is the one with our own demons who have surfaced. This pandemic has provided the perfect conditions to truly heal.
No distractions, no yoga classes to run to, and no big family gatherings for the holidays. Suddenly, it was just us, alone, isolated, and with the time and space to work on ourselves.
And all of this crap came up (maybe that’s why hoarding toilet paper was a thing?), and many of us, instead of dealing with it, chose to hide behind our phone screens and obsess over the fears spread on the media instead.
Healing is a painful and intense process. It requires us to dig down deep into the struggles within us, pick them apart, sit with them, process them, and find a way to let them go. I’m not gonna lie—it sucks. But it is absolutely necessary. Because as stereotypical as it sounds, there is light to be found at the other end.
Joy. Love. Happiness. Forgiveness.
My experience of 2020 was one of great curiosity. I found it interesting to watch how people dealt with their lives suddenly being turned over, literally within a few weeks—maybe a few days.
Friends of mine opened a business in March, only to be shut down four days later. I watched as loved ones were forced into sudden unemployment, quarantine, major career changes, straining relationships, and throughout all of it, I witnessed a huge bubble of people’s traumas boiling over—spilling all over social media.
And the next thing I witnessed was that hardly anyone was dealing with it. It was a little too easy to blame everything on COVID-19.
I’ve already been through this life got turned upside down in a day, and everything was a bad experience before. A decade ago, I decided to attempt to heal from it, and I have worked hard for my happiness. Yes, the pandemic affected my life as well, I lost my job for a while, and things got weird in the little town I live in. But, it didn’t throw me into a spiral.
I actually had a pretty rad year. I had the opportunity to work on projects at our homestead that I normally wouldn’t have time for. I helped friends brainstorm and rebuild their business, and our animals benefited greatly from me being home most days.
I realize that wasn’t most folks’ experience this year—but then I wonder, why wasn’t it?
I have the ability to find silver linings in almost anything—to the point that I annoy people—and have been able to find that 2020 was littered with silver linings.
What I find interesting, though, is that a lot of us didn’t take full advantage of these opportunities. We were given the perfect opportunity to heal and level-up. But it’s hard, and it’s frightening.
It’s so comfortable to stay in our familiar suffering. Maybe we don’t know how to face our issues—and don’t want to know. Guess what? 2021 will be the same if we don’t work on whatever issues came up in 2020.
Don’t wait until January 1st, or February 1st, or Summer Solstice, or until COVID-19 is over—the opportunity to heal is still here.
Let’s start right now.