I think we can all agree that this year has been full of conundrums. It has forced us to dig immensely deep inside ourselves to not only problem-solve the sometimes impossible and answer uncomfortable questions, but also to ask for help because we found ourselves in circumstances we could have never imagined.
I certainly have been challenged tremendously in the aspect of life’s priorities. I’m fortunate enough to having been able to work remotely since March. This “luxury” not only provided me with extra hours in my day since I no longer had to commute, but also allotted me more time with my children who also attended school virtually. However, spending this much time together does not always bring out the best in us. We love each other, of course, but parents are not peers and kids are not co-workers. We yearn for the interaction of “our” people. With so much time together, we start seeing sides of each other that are normally invisible – good and bad. This would include how we learn and work; the interactions and distractions we like or dislike. Being crowded in a small space also forced us to become better listeners and resulted in responding differently, not react at all or merely nod in acknowledgement. Varied, sometimes heated conversations took place at the dinner table, including the pandemic, racial issues, politics, work, school, and of course different health topics. Due to the constantly changing state regulations and guidelines, we have spent much more time outdoors than usual; mostly hiking new trails in the area we did not even know existed. Plus, not only was this an escape route from the everlasting screen time, but also allowed us slow down and appreciate what we often take for granted even when it is not entirely obvious: quality time together.
2020 has magnified what we are truly capable of; what we have to offer and how much more we can give to others (not just financially). Conversations run deeper, misconceptions are unraveled, empathy and understanding grow and the importance of togetherness with family and friends is undeniable. Belongings we considered “must-haves” were lost and not even missed. A forced concept of minimalism only emphasizes the misconception we have of what is needed to be liked, accepted or to fit in. None of our possessions are meant to last, but the human relationships and memories we have made and continue to make will live on as long as we keep retelling the stories.
Sometimes it takes “bad things” to happen to inspire change and growth. And hard times will always reveal true friends by your side. Soon enough we will reflect and react accordingly; after all, it will be hindsight 2020. I look to the New Year as an opportunity to create a brand-new “normal”, one that will push me forward with a clearer vision and mindset. Perspective is everything and holding on to what truly matters in life will always free us from material belongings that hold us hostage.
2020 might be one of the most important years amplifying that time is fleeting and priceless. Therefore, spend it wisely and with people who want you to succeed and grow. We are gifted, but not guaranteed 365 days to treat people with kindness, offer support and take responsibility for our actions. This year was a reminder that we should never take the people, brief moments of joy and our environment for granted. Even in the darkest times, there is someone who will step forward, lend a helping hand and look out for us. Let’s not forget to return the favor.
I wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous and meaningful 2021.