Here we are, we survived 2020 — the year that was 72 months long (or at least felt like it more often than not). It’s hard to believe that the beginning of the year marked the turn of a new decade which filled many of us with hope, fueled by our intentions of chasing and achieving our goals.
Then, a mere three months in, our sunny optimism took a collective kick in the teeth, and we were forced into a sudden and precipitous gear change into survival mode that in a span of a few weeks managed to cram together unemployment, declining community health (physical, mental, and emotional), and a profound loss of our best intentioned plans that continues even now at the beginning of another new year.
Reflecting on 2020
Last year was shrouded in fear, uncertainty, grief, the loss of loved ones, and an at times almost overwhelming yearning for things to just get back to normal.
However, as we reflect back on the year, we believe that the largely disastrous 2020 also taught us a few valuable lessons: the importance of flexibility and resilience, how to cope better, and what it takes to energize ourselves to reframe our thinking in moments of hopelessness or extreme isolation when our normal support structures may not be available.
What we may take from last year is the importance of accepting our circumstances but not yielding to them in defeat. Remember, acceptance does not mean approval. Choosing to radically accept our situation – aka making peace with the inevitable – often allows us to tap into the innate energy we need to forge ahead in the face of opposition, both internal and external, determined to hold us back.
At the heart of our work here at THIRA Health, we believe in existing within the dialectics of life, meaning that we can wholly accept and simultaneously hold two opposing ideas in balance. 2020 has taught us to engage in the struggles around us with grace and kindness, AND still find avenues for change and growth.
2021…The same, but different?
It is not lost on us that we are very much still at the height of global crisis, with the effects of the pandemic continuing to devastate families and communities across the nation and world. Meanwhile, we are heading into a new era with a change of political representation in the White House and other areas across the country.
Maybe some of you created resolutions for 2021, or maybe others of you are still dealing with repercussions from months past. It’s possible that 2021 might very much be like the year that just passed (though we certainly hope not).
No matter how you want to spin it, the past ten months or so have been incredibly hard for everyone. Whether you’re working from your home, became unemployed, or have been standing firm on the front lines, our lives have changed in substantial ways, and our view of life has changed with it.
Sometimes when we are in the midst of a crisis or heightened emotional response, we all too often overlook the exigent lessons to be learned. Here is your 2020 recap of how we have collectively grown in the last year, and what you can do to bring the teachings with you into the new year.
- Gained increased clarity of our personal mission and values.
Regardless of your circumstances last year, what remains true is how our mission and resolve persist in spite of hardship. This ties back to our values – but they have to be our values, not someone else’s. Understanding our own values and staying true to them is one way of creating a full and satisfying life. When circumstances interfere with our ability to pursue actions we perceive as having value, we become frustrated and anxious. And last year was nothing but interference in how we wanted to live.
We’re sure you thought at some point last year that you didn’t want to hurt or endanger others, so you stayed inside or wore a mask despite your desire for social interaction or just a need to get out of the house before you started climbing the walls. Maybe your workaround was making time to connect with friends and family over FaceTime or Zoom. Maybe you found a new show to binge, or a new book to read. Or learned to cook, or some other hobby you could manage from the confines of your home. Something that provided you with some semblance of satisfaction and peace.
- Witnessed just how flexible we can be.
You weathered many canceled or delayed plans, including seeing in person everyone important to you. You may have gone months without a hug. Maybe you did visit your family or friends, but not without fear or precaution. You learned what it’s like to show love differently to yourself and others, no matter what that looks like.
- Reprioritized the importance of interpersonal connection.
You realized just how necessary it is to lean into each other. You understand now that we are stronger together, and the camaraderie that comes along with an understanding of why you can’t be together with your loved ones. You realized that we all need it, and that with flexibility, patience, and resilience, it will come.
And hugs, when they’re finally safe again, will feel so much more gratifying.
- Realized your innate capability to do hard things.
You came to see how capable you are of tolerating uncertainty. You learned how much you can handle without breaking, though there were times when you probably felt broken, like a bag filled with glass shards. In spite of all of that, you’re still here, reading this, right now.
You most likely already have what you need to make it through this year, but even if it turns out that you don’t quite have all the necessary tools, you’ll adjust, you’ll adapt.
After all, you’ve had a whole year of practice.