Turning ’21

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. 

Friendship & Laughter

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!

Anxiety Meet The Coronavirus

So much anxiety out there in the world today. This pandemic has caused even the calmest to freak out a little bit. I get it – it’s scary. Everyone should be concerned. Someone you know, a parent, a child, a friend, will probably contract this virus. And the unknowns of it make it all the more worrisome.

Never in my lifetime has government across the country asked us to “shelter in place”. Nor have I ever had to send my children to school on-line to keep them safe. I never before thought my job in the restaurant business as one that would be defined as essential. So many things from our normal world have changed so quickly. It is unnerving. It is anxiety causing.

By nature, I am an introvert, not very social, somewhat hermitty. I like time by myself and after dealing with the public or social gatherings, I need time by myself. Social distancing is not something I fear. But even for me, someone who works only part time and is self- capable, the disruptive force of the coronavirus on my limited contact with people is more than maddening. In full, I don’t know what I feel. Some loneliness? Some alone-ness? I am not worried about the virus as much as I am worried about the people being shut away from one another. At a time when we as people most need a comforting hug, it is not safe to give each other one. There are people who feel alone or lonely when the world is not turning on an axis of quickly spreading infection. How do they feel now? Do they have people to help them thru this? Do they feel as safe as they can feel? Is there someone who is reaching out? This is my anxiety. Is everyone being looked after? And the answer is no, not everyone.

I know that what I can do is to purposefully stay in contact with my friends and family thru phone calls, texts and emails. I can reach out to the anxious and try to lessen their fears or make them laugh or just listen. I can support them with my love. And doing that takes away the extreme-ness of our distancing for me as well. We are all still here. We are together. We are just not in the same room.