I predicted at the start of 2020, it would be a remarkable year. Focus and Vision—words that beg to be used in conjunction with that powerful number— were thrown around like confetti. Roaring 20’s. Bring it on.
Jubilee! 50 trips around the sun as well. I chose to embrace all I’ve learned and who I’ve become. I assumed the role of badass and chief celebrant for my peers hitting the half century. Enjoy it. We have earned it. 50 is the new________. {fill in the blank}
When covid shutdowns began in mid-March, my natural inclination was to “win” at it. To enthusiastically find all the ways it was advantageous to us. I would keep my kids from disappointment and loneliness. I would learn a new skill. We would play games, read books, learn Thai cooking—whatever. This is what strong women do, right?
The stacks of books went largely unread and in lieu of cooking, we ordered takeout in “support of small business” (and definitely not out of laziness).
Perhaps we needed rest. Perhaps the Tiger King was too appealing, but spring’s reality was a whole lot of Netflix and survival. Did we binge this lunacy with a “there, but for the grace of God, go I” attitude? I mean, we could be Joe exotic or Carole Baskin, right? It could be worse!
To exacerbate our collective pain, this pandemic happened in an election cycle. Fear, hate, vitriol spewed forth like Kilauea into society. We all (be honest), took a turn at keyboard vigilanteism. Each of us was 100% right all of the time and not budging. We hung flags of blue, black, and rainbow saying ours mattered most. As concerts, parties, and travel cancelled around the world, we began to cancel everything from syrup to family members who disagreed with us.
Yet Covid doesn’t discriminate—turns out, though some populations may be more susceptible, everyone suffers. The side effects of COVID-19 run the gambit from fever to depression. No one will convince me I’m wrong. We have lost too many souls this year to the physical and emotional tolls of this insidious ball of germs. Isolation has been both cause and effect. Battle fatigue to the front-like workers emphasizes their risk.
Personally, I went inward for the first time in a LONG time. Raising a family takes parents out of themselves for so many years, that we often forget to visit our own selves. To help our kids through this unprecedented era, I needed to explore what I was feeling and LET MYSELF FEEL IT. Not right. Not wrong. Just acknowledge the pain or joy as it came. I got mindful. I didn’t try to FIX every emotion we had, nor avoid every conflict to keep the peace. I allowed myself to just BE.
Sitting in this space of BEING, I chose gratitude over fear, joy over sorrow, empathy over anger. Because physical proximity was disallowed, I used the time to reconnect to friends and family nationwide, worldwide. I have enjoyed zooms with my sorority sisters, facetimes with family, and messages even with a cousin in the UK. I reached out to those in other spheres (cultural, geographical, religious and racial) to find commonality in our experiences as well as how to support the struggles of their circles. I learned we have so many similarities yet our differences are what makes us unique.
In this “sameness,” I recognize that the one thing we all share in 2020 is discomfort. While it may run from inconvenience (masks suck. We miss movies and dinners out) to paralyzing anxiety (those who have lost loved ones/jobs/etc), it has been a space without comfort for everyone. Do we notice that our discomfort could be so much worse and extend help to others? Do we take the time to check in on people? Do we forgive ourselves and others when we fuck up? Because in fact, we all do.

Scenes from a chaotic year...

What , then, went right?
Getting outdoors! Reconnecting to nature has been such a blessing to so many. Grounding in nature soothes us.
Learning! Maybe it wasn’t as esteemed as book learning, but we all did it. Whether as parents taking on the role of educators, new writers relying on journals to keep us sane, or those who took on caretaker roles with changing circumstances—we all learned things. We discovered that not all put in front of us could or should be accepted as gospel. We remembered how to
Question and dig and use critical thinking and problem-solving.
Connecting! When seeing people passively became a luxury, we used technology and creativity to stay connected in our communities. Virtual praise in religious communities, happy hours online with friends, even restaurants using bubble seating afforded us unique ways to stay in touch and APPRECIATE that time together.
Ultimately, 2020 feels hard. Exhausting. I am setting no hard intentions for the new year, because I definitely learned I have zero control over anything but how I react to it. But for the good I choose to carry into 2021, I am grateful. I believe we are each better for it. I am reminded of the serenity prayer:

Here's to 2021!!!

As always, thank you for being here...

From the bottom of my heart, I share my deepest gratitude for your presence in my life.  For every check-in, like, comment, share…I thank you.

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