2020 has been a shit show for most of us. I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement right now. Maybe you have one hand in the air like “preach” while you sip something fancy with the other. That’s how we do New Years at my house.
But in the last few years, I’ve adopted a new tradition for New Years. I started gathering with some friends to talk about our highs and lows for the year, and then set goals for the next year.
It’s been a really fun and eye opening experience. One I hope to continue every year. So I thought I’d share a little of that here with you.
2020, Looking Back
I won’t spend a lot of time on what most would call the “lows”. I don’t really consider anything a low point. It’s all part of the journey. I believe things happen for me, not to me.
But if I’m looking at my life from the outside, there have been some not so great things happen.
I burned the skin off my face. I got a divorce. I sold my house. I completely turned my life, and the lives of my kids, upside down.
But that’s a pretty short list of “bad” stuff when I consider all the great things that happened this year. All the ways in which I found growth and clarity.
Let’s take the burning my face thing for example. I got to see what it feels like to be different. I always imagined I sort of knew. Like I could understand. But it’s different to experience it firsthand.
People stare at you. They whisper. They wonder what happened. Some feel sorry for you. Some feel grossed out. Some try hard not to notice, but you can tell they do. It didn’t bother me. I imagined it would. But I completely understand why they’d stare. I looked like a cast member from the Walking Dead.
I also saw how strong I am. That a thing like burning my face, and possibly having scars wouldn’t really change anything. I was more than my face. And that was something I don’t think I knew prior to the event.
I got to share these lessons with my kids. To stress to them the importance of not treating anyone that seemed different, as if they were less. And to show them that they’re more than what’s on the outside too. What’s outside can change in a second. Focus on what’s inside.
And those lessons were nothing compared to the ones that came with the divorce.
I learned you can change ANYTHING in your life if you’re not happy. And while you may have to burn the sucker to the ground first, you can always rebuild.
I have some really awesome kids. But seeing them roll with these changes made me even more aware of their strength. Sometimes we might imagine our kids to be weak and need to be sheltered from the truth. But the more I’m honest with my kids, the more they rise to meet the occasion.
Plus I get to show them how imperfect life is. I get to share with them how imperfect I am. The world is filled with people just doing the best they can to find happiness. I want them to be brave enough to change anything they don’t like. To start over a hundred times if that’s what it takes. To fail over and over again.
We’re all so afraid of change. But change is awesome! Someone once told me, “You shouldn’t hide from the parts of life you don’t like. You should feel it all for the full human experience.”
We were talking about sad movies, or sadness in general. But I’ve come to find that he might be right about that. To feel it all is to experience life fully. That doesn’t mean I’m going to line up to see the next tear jerker movie (I still hate them). But maybe I won’t avoid them so fiercely in the future.
Life is Beautiful
The biggest lesson to be found in 2020 is not to take things for granted. A hug meant very little before 2020. But now, even if you didn’t practice social distancing, you can see how great they are. To feel someone’s arms around you. That comfort, that shared energy. You feel it in your soul.
That’s just one example. There are parties, group events, dancing. There’s life itself. While I didn’t lose anyone to Covid, I lost some people. Some good people. Everyone is mad at 2020, but this year has done us a favor.
It’s trying to remind us what’s important. Who’s important. It’s a wake up call. And I’m grateful.
While the year was nowhere near easy, it was enlightening.
I made new friends. Friends I would have never made in my old life. I loved deeply, on a soul level. Something I didn’t even know I was capable of. I was shattered. Plans didn’t work out. I saw ugly truths about people I once thought of on the highest level. I was shown who my real friends were, and who never actually cared.
Some might consider those bad. But they were actually really great. The ugly truth is always better than a gorgeous lie. I’ll take ugly truth and make it my new best friend every time.
I felt the whole range of human emotion. I felt happy, sad, bad, mean, kind, generous, selfish, tough, weak, and all of the in-betweens. It’s been a really fucking bumpy ride. But I’ve had the time of my life.
I’ve never loved life more. I’ve never felt so alive. I’m soaking up the human experience and learning who I am along the way. I’m becoming more “me” than I ever was before.
I’ve evolved so much in this one year. I’m still me, but more. The people around me weren’t always excited about these changes. But for the first time in a really long time, if not ever, I’m trying to honor my own path. To do the things that bring me joy for me. And it’s a fucking beautiful thing.
What’s 2020 Trying to Tell You?
What’s 2020 been trying to teach you? Are you happy where you are? Do you like your life and the people in it? Do you like your job and where you live?
This year is a year of growth and change. And that needn’t scare you. It should excite you. Life is so much fun. Life is an adventure.
It’s full of opportunity and beauty. It’s full of chances and magic. But you have to seek them out.
One decision can change everything. And while it may not ever be easy, that’s okay. Easy is overrated anyway.
This New Year’s Eve, I encourage you to get together with the people you love. I encourage you to talk about the amazing things you’ve learned this year. Maybe you learned how to be a better parent or partner. Maybe you learned you’ve been an ass hole. Maybe you learned how much someone means to you. Maybe you got a new job or a new love or a new house.
But 2020 wasn’t the enemy. 2020 was just the wake up call. It was trying to help you. Trying to show you what’s important. Trying to show you how amazing life can be if you let it.
Things will always be hard. Life is hard. But it can be more than one thing. It can be hard AND beautiful. It can be challenging AND exhilarating.
You get to choose how you see it.
I hope 2020 has blessed you with many changes and many opportunities for growth.
And I hope you use these lessons to make a better future for yourself. I hope your next year is filled with goals and plans.
Cheers to a New Year. I won’t hope it’ll be easier than 2020, I just hope it’ll take you wherever it is you need to be. Happy New Year!!!