2020 has been quite a year, to say the least. It even has its own hashtag, one that doesn’t quite bring about warm fuzzy memories and feelings. It’s pretty much the catchphrase for anything that goes wrong, big or small.
But has it truly been all bad?
Typically we head into the new year full of optimism, armed with resolutions to improve and make things better. (Ironically, my thoughts leading into 2020 ended up being rather applicable in this crazy year!) Realistically, 2021, at least for the foreseeable future, looks to be a continuation of 2020.
We’re still going to be facing a lot of the challenges that came in with #2020, yet I firmly believe that 2021 can and will be better.
We’ve spent almost nine months in some state of quarantine or change of routine due to the Covid-19 outbreak. We will hopefully soon/when safe begin returning back to “normal life,” but are there parts of your “new normal” that you plan to take with you? Perhaps you resisted everything at first, spent time in grief, anger, dismay, shock, etc. However, once the initial feelings wore off, you began to adjust, settle in, and hopefully found some positives. This is a chance to seek the good, a skill that helps us all be more resilient for when this really tough stuff happens.
We must grow through what we go through. What is your message in the mess?
Coronavirus and all of the events of #2020 brought out a huge opportunity to get a big picture of almost everything in our lives. We’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t take a moment to pause and reflect on what it has taught us, good or bad.
What activities did you miss the most? Which were you glad to not have to keep up with? Did you delve into a new or abandoned hobby? Did you read any good books? What things brought sunshine to your day?
What were your thoughts on schools? Did you like how your school handled this or will you be voicing your opinions to the school board to promote future change? Do you have a newfound respect for teachers and will you show them that in your actions? Did you end up liking homeschooling after all?
Which goods and services have you missed the most? Which stores will you frequent and which weren’t really essential for you? Which restaurants will you run to first? Did you discover a new low-maintenance more natural hair and make-up routine or will you be first in line at the salon? Did you get a handle on cooking/cleaning/gardening/lawncare/decorating, etc. or will you be outsourcing to the experts?
Will you be more intentional about ensuring you have 3-6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund? Did your investment views change? Did you take a more vested interest in the stock market? Are you more a risk-taker or do you prefer to play it safe? Are you living beyond your means? Are there things you can cut out to get yourself on more solid ground? Did you find new ways to make or save money? Did you find you had some extra to share with those in need?
Which friends’ faces did you miss seeing? Whom did your kids most talk about? Did you see any sides of certain people on social media that you just had to unfollow or let go? Will you continue to see these people regularly or will you work to find a new crew? Who inspired you? Who would you like to spend more/less time with?
Are there certain shopping habits you want to tweak? Will you continue shopping bi-monthly? Are there specific items you will always stock? Do you prefer delivery, pick-up, or physically going into the store? Has your meal planning improved? Are there things you still didn’t touch in your pantry even when it was growing bare?
Did you like how your religious institution handled the situation or is it time to seek a new one? Did you feel supported and that their values aligned with your own? Did you come to enjoy online worship? Did you find your faith strengthened or tested? Did you question your beliefs and values? Did you listen to sermons from a variety of different religious leaders? Did your understanding of differing viewpoints grow?
Did your views of certain political leaders change? Did you begin to listen to differing viewpoints and not rely solely on one person’s thoughts? Did you look at actions over words? Can you look at individual people instead of party loyalties? Are things less black and white?
How’s your mental health? What kinds of feelings did this stir up? Do you need to see someone? Did you express your feelings to others? Did you journal or meditate? What strategies did you employ when you were stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, etc. that you can utilize the next time you find yourself feeling that way?
Did you find a way to exercise at home consistently? Make healthy food choices and refrain from buying certain temptations at the store? Get more sleep? Notice things you should get checked out? If you got the virus, did you recover quickly? Did you fear the virus because you knew your immune system wasn’t up to the task? Did you quit smoking/vaping? Did you get as much fresh air and Vitamin N (nature) as you could soak up?
Will you be more intentional about carving out family time and keep this togetherness a priority? Did you learn new things about your kids that you might not have noticed in the hustle of everyday life? Did you find time to have more serious conversations with your spouse? Were you able to make time for one another? Did you work as a team through this? What were some of the memorable things your family did together? In which ways did you connect? What favorite routines or activities will you continue?
What qualities stood out about yourself? Resilience? Creativity? Resourcefulness? Optimism? Positivity? Thoughtfulness? Compassion? Love? Selfishness? Fearfulness? Defiance? Angriness? Loneliness? Negativity? Which qualities will you embrace, and which will you work to change?