I know that 2020 has been a year that none of us saw coming. It seems like this year has been one large illusion and that we are all apart of the game Jumanji. The truth is, most of us have not been doing well in 2020 and some of us feel like we are barely making it into 2021. There are so many annoying things that 2020 has produced and created. Let's just start with the obvious, hello coronavirus. Seriously who could prepare for a pandemic that would literally shut down the whole world? Then let's go to the summer where the feelings of unrest and the constant reminders of the racial injustice that still exists blew up our newsfeeds. Another thing that 2020 thew in our face was such an enhanced amount of loss of those we loved and those we admired. 2020 is a year that will be written in the history books and will be talked about for years to come.
Now I know that 2020 has brought so much stress and feelings of despair, but what if that isn't all it brought? What if there were some things that 2020 taught us that we can actually, and honestly should, take with us into 2021? To be honest my friend I know this sounds like an inconceivable idea, but I am going to need you to hear me out. I want to share some things that 2020 taught me that maybe we can all take confidently take with us into 2021.
Rest is Necessary for a Healthy Life
As someone who has always been a doer and likes to stay busy, the beginning of this lockdown literally felt like torture. I remember sitting in my apartment in mid-March feeling so overwhelmed with boredom that feelings of worthlessness started to well up within me. I think for years I had identified myself by my work, and for the first time, I was forced to not work. Thankfully I had some clients still throughout this, but I wasn't experiencing the busyness that I had gotten used to. It wasn't until about June that I realized, maybe the stillness of this season is what I needed and that just maybe I was supposed to take this time to implement some rest.
When I finally allowed myself to surrender to the concept of rest, I finally allowed myself to feel the benefits of rest.
Rest is something that I realized I needed, and yet it wasn't something I practiced. So as I go into 2021 I am going to take with me the practice of rest and the reminder that rest is necessary for a healthy life.
Healthy Friendships are Something I Can't Live Without
This was something I thought I knew but really didn't comprehend until 2020. I have been blessed with amazing women in my life, and I have considered them like sisters. However, in years past I knew I always had access to them and could go hang out and vacation together whenever. When March of 2020 hit, I realized that the convenience of my friendships led me to not appreciate what I have been given and the gift that I have in the women in my life. It was easy, and sometimes preferable, to stay disconnected from everyone around me and not still pursue my friends. However, as humans, we aren't created to live in isolation but we are literally hard-wired for connection. 2020 has forced me to remember the importance of being intentional in reaching out to my friends and making sure I stay connected. In 2021 I will take with me the reminder that I need healthy friendships because honestly, it is something I can't ever live without.
Kindness is Lifechanging
I know that this sounds a little odd, but I promise you this is something that I was reminded of in 2020 and something I am definitely taking with me in 2021. 2020 brought a lot of physical pain and disease, but with that came even more emotional and mental pain from others. So much hatred and contempt and vial aggression were shown it seemed more than ever toward one another. Whether it was racially driven or politically driven, the narrative for most of 2020 seemed to mostly be hatred and disrespect for humankind. As someone who has never been confrontational and someone who never really has had a desire to spew hate or disrespectful language, I have found myself being intentional about being kind to people. In me being kind to the grocery store worker, or the person with different political views than me, or to the one who used derogatory language to me when asking him a question, I've noticed a shift in the behavior or mood of the other person. Often times the hate and disrespect come from a deep place of unprocessed fear. 2020 has taught me that when I respond in kindness it quiets the hateful reaction. Kindness is a free gift that we as humans can give, and it takes less energy to use than hate.
In 2021 I want to still remind myself that kindness isn't a weakness but is actually so powerful that it could change someone's life.
I Have the Ability to Outlast Hard Seasons, Even If It Feels Impossible
2020 was the year that we were all faced with some hard things, and it seemed to be one of the longest and hardest seasons of our lives. I know for myself, I sometimes think that I am not going to make it out of hard seasons because I am going to get swallowed up in the dark hole of depression and never get out. I know that I have walked through some hard seasons in life, but like with most people, 2020 was one of the hardest seasons for me emotionally and mentally. 2020 started off on sort of a low for me, then had a great and healing trip to Hawaii with my girlfriends, then a pandemic hits and emotionally I found myself all over the place. I really struggled with bouts of serious anxiety and even some depression this past summer and I had to be intentional in working my way through it. I share this to say, it was a really hard season for me but yet here I am another day. I know that this pandemic has rocked a lot of us emotionally and mentally. The anxiety rates and depression rates (especially among the elderly and young adults) have skyrocketed like we haven't seen in this lifetime. At times it felt like I was going crazy, or that this year isn't ever going to end, but the truth is the seasons always end. Winter will eventually become spring (even if it is a long winter) and I have the ability within myself to outlast the winter and make it to spring. Even if I get to spring looking like and feeling like I have been crushed by a mac truck a few times.
These are just a few of the things that I am taking with me in 2021, and I am going to invite you to take them in 2021 for yourself. If there is nothing you get from this, then I am asking you my dear friend that you take with you the truth that YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO OUTLAST THIS SEASON. I don't know your personal journey and the loss you may have experienced this year, but what I do know is that if you are still waking up each day you are stronger than this season, even if it feels like your drowning. 2020 has honestly been a doozy for most of us, and I don't know what 2021 is going to bring. What I am confident in though is that the winter season is going to come to an end, and you have everything inside of you to make it to spring.
So as we ring in 2021 tonight, remember that you made it through one of the hardest years you may have gone through and that in itself is definitely something to celebrate
Happy New Year My Friend