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As I look back at 2020, I remember how so many people had their lives turned completely upside down barely months into the new year.
People were getting sick and dying. Jobs were being lost, businesses were closing their doors, some ended up closing permanently because of government shutdowns and mandates being imposed.
People couldn’t pay their mortgages and rent. Kids couldn’t go to school. Parents were having to figure out how to manage homeschooling along with their own jobs—if they were lucky enough to be able to work remotely. Mental health, addiction, and domestic violence were at all-time highs because people were confined at home together with no healthy outlets.
Many people were dealing with the death of loved ones who were dying alone in hospitals from this nasty virus that swept across the world. My heart broke for these families, but more so for the people who were left to die alone with no one to comfort them in their last moments on Earth.
Our lives as we knew them literally stopped. Everything changed in an instant and we all longed for 2021 in the hopes that things would suddenly be better.
As an accountant, I worked remotely for the past eight years for the same company and in an industry that wasn’t affected by the shutdowns. My children are grown up and on their own and my work continued at a normal pace. Life didn’t change for me much during the pandemic. I’m a bit of a homebody, so not being able to go out to restaurants, theaters, concerts, and other social interactions didn’t bother me much at all.
I love to travel, so that was one thing that did affect me to some degree, but it was a small thing compared to what so many people were dealing with during this time. My family stayed healthy and safe.
I was thankful for that and still am.
Finally, it’s 2021. We all hoped and prayed that things would get better this year, and for many people, life began to return to the “new normal.” Schools started to reopen, as did many businesses. People were able to go back to work and start living a new but different version of life. But for me, 2021 was going to be my 2020. This was the year that my life would change dramatically, and not for the better. This is where my losses would begin. This is where I would get gut-punched over and over for the entire year.
Just when I would start to recover from one blow, I would get hit with another one.
2021 started with a breakup of my long-term relationship. I was not prepared for this. It wasn’t my choice and it wasn’t what I wanted but that doesn’t matter, because once one person makes that decision, you can only agree and try to move on. You don’t get to choose; you can only accept.
A month later, I found out my dad was sick with cancer, and although our family hoped for the best outcome, I think we all knew it might not be a good one. My dad passed away less than three months after being diagnosed. The final (I hope) and most recent blow, and by recent I mean today, I lost my job unexpectedly. The company I work for had been bought out in early 2021 by a large equity group. With promises made by the new company before the acquisition that all jobs were safe, I had bought my first home since my divorce eight years ago in April. But I should have known—I should have been smarter than this because that is what large companies do. They make promises to sweeten the deal that they never intend to keep.
So this morning, I got the call. And after nine years of being a valuable asset to my employer, I was let go by the new owners with not even a thank you and two-week severance pay. A huge slap in the face to say the least. Right before the holidays and with no idea what I am going to do to stay afloat.
So here I am, as 2021 draws almost to a close, having lost my relationship, my father, and my job whilst wondering where do I go from here?
There are only six weeks left in this year, so I hope that this is all 2021 has in store for me. I feel like I can’t take another setback this year. Then I pause and think back. I have been through things that most people never experienced in their life prior to what 2021 had in store for me. Some of them were much worse than this and I never gave up. I never let it break me. I get right back up, dust off my backside, and look at what’s the next thing in store.
What can I do to get through this? And I go do that. Because that’s what we have to do in order to move forward.
Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes even further downs. It’s what we do with our losses and failures that define who we are as a person. Are we the person who gives up and feels sorry for ourselves? Or the person who looks adversity in the eye and says, “You will not bring me down because I am a fighter.” And that’s what I plan to do.
Right around the corner is a new year and I intend to shine!
So f*ck you 2021! This woman is not going to let you break her. I’m coming to get you!