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The Hindsight of 2020

Here we are. It is another New Year’s Eve. 2020 is finally coming to an end and we are preparing to turn a page into the next year.

On this night last year, we celebrated with friends and proclaimed that this would be our year.

Spoiler Alert: It Wasn’t.

2020 wasn’t the best of times, but for me, personally, it wasn’t the worst of them either. I know how fortunate I am to be able to say that.

No, the year did not go as planned. Crap, I chucked the planner in the trash around mid-July. But, we came through. We came through with our health, a roof over our heads, and each other. We were lucky to not lose a job or income or any loved ones to the pandemic that raged on. I count those blessings each and every day.

Yes, this year held disappointments.

We missed out on birthdays and holidays and time spent together with family and friends. We learned how to wear a mask and made social distancing part of our lifestyle. We cancelled trips and gatherings and adjusted as we went.

We remotely learned. I learned that being a teacher is 100% not within my general capabilities. I struggled to help my daughter with fourth grade math and maintain my sanity and patience along the way. I appreciate teachers more today than I ever have.

Resiliency and going with the flow were key to our survival this year. We learned to swerve and then swerve again and again and again.

But there was a bright side too.

No, 2020 wasn’t all bad.

Before the pandemic stopped us all, we had a chance to take a vacation to Mexico with my parents and one of my brothers. It was a wonderful calm before the storm that came.

My cousin and oldest friend who I had not seen in several years due to military life came home and we were able to spend time together with our babies. It was something my heart very much needed.

I spent more time together with my husband and children in the last 10 months than we have in our entire lives together. The slowdown and slight pause in our lives was the gift we didn’t know we needed. The time spent watching movies, playing in the yard, having game nights, and dancing in the kitchen will live in my heart forever.

Yes, 2020 will be memorable for ways I never envisioned coming.

There have been harder years for me than 2020 and there have been much better years than 2020. But, in it all I lived. I loved. And I learned.

Some lessons were harder than others.

The world showed a lot of it’s ugly this year. There were people I deeply respected that I just can’t any longer. There was cruelty and there was division. Somewhere along the line kindness became weakness, disagreeing peacefully became old hat, and helping out your neighbor became a faux pas.

But. There was also beauty too. There were simple acts of kindness. There are people who fought for change and will continue to do so because if nothing changes then nothing ever changes. There were the soft hearts that kept on doing what they do and sharing their beautiful hearts because if they didn’t, then the world would win.

Intent was my word for 2020.

I wanted to be intentional in all that I did this year and I think in some ways I accomplished that. In some ways, I just survived.

As I reflect on where 2020 left us, I realize I learned a lot about contentment this year and appreciating what I have. I have four walls that keep me safe and warm. I have a doting husband and four pretty fantastic kids. I have an amazing family and a pretty spectacular collection of friends. This year really highlighted who and what mattered most.

My biggest lesson or self realization, if you will, came from really understanding the difference between a want and a need. It’s more about learning to love what you have than always having what you want.

Focus

As we move into 2021, my word for the year is focus.

I want to focus more on cultivating friendships and creativity and even my garden. I want to continue to spend time with family and friends and love my tribe with all I have. I want to focus on my physical, mental, and spiritual health and that of my family’s. I want to focus on doing more of what matters to me and what is important to me. I am learning to say no and accept the unique challenges in my life.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

I wish you all health and happiness in the coming year. I hope you are safe tonight and celebrate in whatever way feels right for you.

I’ll see you next year.

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