Like most of the global population, I am elated to bring this year to a close. While elated, I am also confused. What the hell just happened? Is it really over now? How did a nine-month period of time make me feel like I have whiplash? Is my neck actually physically injured? Was that my first experience with slow torture? Will there be any lasting side effects? Can I get a refund?! Most significantly, have I taken enough time to recognize the good stuff?
2020 will go down in my own personal history book as one of the worst years. There is no getting around it. This year was chock-full of loss. I lost a life experience that I dreamed about my entire cognitive existence. I lost friendships. I lost a cousin who brought so much joy to my life, I’m certain I’ll never be the same without him. I lost a pregnancy that I had been willing to fruition for 7 months. And to round it all out, I was terrified that I was going to lose my beloved grandmother to a stroke. I am pleased to report that was not the case.
Is it possible though that this was also one of the best years? This is where confusion sets in. I spent so much of my time this year complaining, worrying and in a state of perpetual angst (for good reason, and I don’t take it back). But is that how I want to remember this year? As we close the door on this dumpster fire, I realize the answer is no. There are two truths here. One being that I simply do not want to remember this year at all, and the other being that if I have to (which I’m fairly certain I do) remember this year, I want it to be for the joy and the growth and the beauty that came from the wreckage.
One of my many goals for 2021 is letting go of the past. Not entirely, but in a way that serves me to be better in the future. As I move into a new calendar, I think it’s important to try and take the lessons of this year of discomfort with me. I no longer need to carry the burdens of 2020 and while I expect that they won’t soon be forgotten, they can certainly be left behind.
Reflection on this year has actually been one of the best things for me. I started writing this and it quickly turned from a list of everything that went wrong, to a list of all that I gained. When I was wading through the muck of 2020 life, it was challenging to see beyond what was right in front of me. I had a white-knuckle grip on the “press forward at all costs” mentality. Some might call it survival mode. It was about the only thing keeping my head above ‘muck’ level.
Often while pressing forward, what was right in front of me was another challenge piled on top of exhaustion, sorrow and gloom. I hadn’t really given myself a moment to look back on all my beautiful accomplishments. Quite frankly, I maintain the mentality that if you found even one single way to thrive this year, you f*cking CRUSHED IT. Below is a list (for myself/hopeful inspiration for you see your own victories) of some of the badass things myself (and Tom) accomplished this year.
In 2020, I/We:
- Married a one-of-a-kind man, who has shown me what unconditional love REALLY means. We started our chapter as husband and wife despite our big party being “COVID Cancelled.” Additionally, I have grown from where I was when our wedding was cancelled, to a place where I can accept that what happened was our ‘meant-to-be’ and if things had been different, maybe we wouldn’t realize how wildly capable we are as a team.
- Learned about myself. (This could be a whole different blog) I have actually never felt more in tune with or proud of who I am as a person and while I know I have a long way to go, I feel confident in the woman I am. I know that I possess the emotional capacity to sit with my feelings, to work with and through them, and to ultimately act in a way that is kindest to myself first. (And when I am kind to myself, I can be kind to others) I have gained the strength to not let my joy and decisions be dictated by the opinions of my friends and family, or anyone else. My heart leads the way in my life and I am SO darn delighted by that.
- Stayed committed to therapy, which is something I don’t always do when life gets especially hard. It would have been easy to quit when we became a telehealth society. I am thankful to myself for not getting going when the going got tough.
- Am actively surviving the loss of a pregnancy, as I mentioned above. As a couple, we are pushing forward, hand in hand, with a fertility specialist to become parents. We are persevering with determination and I feel confident that 2021 will be the year we get our rainbow baby. In this process and through all the other struggles endured, we are becoming an even stronger couple.
- Bought a friggen house!!! We snagged a fixer-upper in a prime neighborhood, in the town I always wanted to raise our family in and we are slowly, actively building our forever HOME. I’ve learned more about the value of being patient and letting things happen in due time as well as my own physical and emotional limitations with biting off too much to chew.
- Brought Roo home. We rescued a beautiful puppy who has brought light to a very dark year, and I’ve been so lucky to be able to love her. I’ve been graced with the privilege of watching Tom be her doggy Dad, which is just a small insight into how wonderful of a father he will be in the future. In just a few short weeks that Roo has been with us, it has been magical to watch her learn even the smallest tricks and hilarious to watch her concurrently stir up all kinds of puppy mischief.
So, while the above is not all-inclusive like the resort I wish I could be at, it is a step in the right direction and that’s what I believe the new year to be as well. I hope that when we wake up on 01.01.2021, we can let out a big sigh of relief and even though we all know that changing the numbers on the calendar doesn’t change the state of the scary world we live in, maybe you can feel some more optimism on a personal level than you had previously. I know that’s what I’m aiming for. If all else fails, this year has taught me that it doesn’t hurt to keep my expectations high and strive for better. I know I can do that.
As always, you’re in my heart. Happy New Year, my friends!