Let’s be real- 2020 was rough. I don’t know about you, but a the pandemic and change of lifestyle forced me to look inwards, and ask myself some hard questions. I spent a lot of the year ridden with anxiety, and a lot of the year growing in ways I didn’t think were possible.
But, here’s the thing about growth- it can be really, really painful, messy and turbulent. And, just when you think you’re done growing, life throws you another curveball and you’re forced to decide, do you sink or do you swim?
After an exceptionally wild year, here’s what I’ve learned.
- You can only control what you can control: You can’t control a pandemic, or how fast it spreads. You can only control your own actions, beliefs and values.
- Connection is a lifeline: If I would have imagined what would suck about a pandemic before I knew we’d live through one I likely would have thought “Oh yeah it would suck to stay home and not shop and travel.” But, while experiencing the pandemic I realized the only thing I truly, truly missed was connecting with people, in person. But, through the pandemic we all got creative with how we connect, and it further confirmed to me that connection is true magic.
- Time doesn’t stop: Even if you so desperately want it to. Time continues to tick and you can either let it pass you by, or you can wake up and face it.
- Your body has memories: When the pandemic hit, my body went into full blown fight of flight mode. Having experienced trauma in the past, as soon as I felt in danger (thanks social media for further perpetuating that), my body literally collapsed and I realized I had unprocessed trauma that was demanding to be felt.
- Therapy is ESSENTIAL: I swear, I’ve never been so thankful for therapy before. My therapist helped me process the pandemic, and also helped me realize that despite the tragedy of it all, I’m not in danger if I’m taking proper precautions.
- Goals will guide you: In the first half of 2020, I spent it fear ridden and panicked. But, in the second half, after a ton of therapy, I spent it editing and publishing my Poetry Book, Undertow. Having goals has allowed me to focus on something other than the state of the world. It has also allowed me to contribute to the world in a way that feels meaningful to me.
- Food / essential item hoarding isn’t cool. Period.
- Substances won’t get rid of the pandemic: they’ll only make you feel less equipped to manage your feelings about it.
- My dog is literally my best friend, ever.
- Nature knows the way: In the earlier months of the pandemic, we sought out new nature trails, and tried to get into nature as much as possible. It was the single place I felt at peace, almost like the forrest knew more than we did about the future of the world. It was a strange comfort and I’m so thankful for the trees.
- Checking in on loved ones is so important: I literally used to never call or text me extended family. Not because I don’t love them, but because we all were so busy in our lives filled with stupid shit we didn’t need to do. Now, I have tons of time to connect with family, and it feels good.
- Slow the fuck down: I mean, really…did we all NEED to be living the fast paced lives we were living? Covid19 has really forced us all to slow down, and turn inward. What voids are we filling by constantly staying busy, being surrounded by people, buying shit we don’t need? I don’t know about you, but I’ve turned inward and have realized I don’t want to go back to my old life. I want to grow from this.
- Your health is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. If this means you lose friends because you’re not willing to party during the pandemic, so be it.
- Kindness will save the world. Look around- there’s hate and judgement everywhere. But, there’s also been so much kindness. People helping strangers buy groceries, gifts and meals left on porches, dogs being walked when people are in quarantine. Kindness is what will get us through this.
- Nurses, Doctors, Teachers, Paramedics and every other essential worker is a fucking hero. Words aren’t enough.
I didn’t edit this post, didn’t overthink it or tweak it. These are the things I’ve taken from 2020, though I could write an entirely different post on what I’ve learned from 2020 & facing infertility during it… Maybe next time.
Sending all of the love, health and care to everyone as we embark on 2021. I hope it’s kinder.