Let’s face it. 2020 was NOT the year. Not for any of us. And I don’t know anyone who isn’t more than ready for it to be over.
The words pandemic and coronavirus have been permanently and boldly inscribed in the book of 2020. But it wasn’t only about the complete awfulness of covid. A pandemic doesn’t change the basic things we still have to get through in life – kids, families, mortgages and bills, birthdays/ weddings/holidays, housework, laundry, cooking! The virus just amplified the stress. Less work equals less money equals more stress over mortgages and bills. Kids in online school equals more food to cook (although it might give you a laundry break). Cooking 37 meals in one day wears you out. Anxiety over not being able to see or hug family members for fear of being asymptomatic, makes you sad. Our emotions have run rampant in this past year and it has driven us to the brink of our sanity.
And right here is where we find the silver lining. Because we didn’t actually lose our sanity. We didn’t give up or give in and let everything fly right out the window. In this time of extreme difficulty, of constant change, of overwhelming stress and genuine fear…we are standing here at the end of this nightmare year for several reasons.
For me the biggest and most important reason I didn’t just curl up into a ball and lay crying these past months is friends. We somehow learned to build better friendships in 2020. Closer connections. We became more supportive, more sympathic, more understanding of each other’s lives. Maybe because we had more time to do so without all of the hurriedness that the virus forced us to leave behind. Maybe because in the midst of a worldwide pandemic we learned to reach out more when trying to cope with things out of our hands. Or maybe being able to laugh at life together just adds an intangible to the mix. And we did laugh – at killer hornets, at weird packages of seeds, at dogs eating dentures (after we cried), at meth-gators and angry otters. We laughed at our bosses, our families, and each other. And memes. We laughed a lot at memes.
Another reason we made it through this terrible, horrible, awful, very bad year is because in the midst of the chaos that was 2020, we remembered to be grateful. Yes, it was a hard year. Yes, we struggled to just get through some days. Yes, we lived in our yoga pants and pajamas. But how grateful and thankful were we for the days that went well, for the return to on campus school, for our teachers, our healthcare providers, Amazon deliveries? How grateful for healthy families, for a day watching your kid play baseball? How grateful for toilet paper or being able to get a haircut? And how grateful for those who have watched over us and blessed us with their love, who have somehow been able to ease our struggles? Or the ability to help others? We learned how to look at things differently, to change our perceptions of what mattered most. I know that not everyone learned these things. There are still people wasting their breath every day complaining about having to wear a mask. I can certainly think of worse things, but I am choosing to see better things.
It’s the end of a most unforgettable year. A year we are eager to see behind us. But this pandemic isn’t going to go away for awile, so I hope we can take the lessons of 2020 with us into 2021. I hope that we can build on them and share them and grow into being better humans in this new year. To more laughter, stronger friendships, and more gratitude. Cheers 🥂 ! And a very happy 2021!