So here we are, New Years Eve 2020. We made it. On one hand, this year feels like it went by in a big blur – with all the days just melding together. I liken it to standing on a subway platform and watching a train zip past you, and on the other hand, the period between March and December has felt like a decade on its own. It’s a surreal feeling that I am certain many of us can relate to. Life, as we once knew it, has basically been on pause for the last year, and unfortunately, as cases continue to soar, this will continue to be our reality as we ring in a new year.
This is why perspective is so important. Having a positive outlook is a lot easier said than done as this pandemic has been mentally draining – but in order to keep one foot in front of the other, you have to try to make the best of a shitty situation to keep from completely falling apart.
Reflecting on literally a life-changing year, here are some of the key lessons I have learned:
The True Value of the Human Connection – The old saying is quite true – you don’t realize what you have until you don’t have it anymore. Before this pandemic began, how often did anyone do video calls? I’m not talking about the influx of work-related zoom calls since the first lockdown in March, but just personal calls. This year, the norm has been doing a video call ahead of a just a ‘regular’ voice call. Not being able to freely meet and socialize in person has really heightened the true importance of personal connections and a renewed appreciation for family and loved ones. I’ve had more people on my mind than ever before. And I don’t know how else to say that. This year has reminded me of the sheer importance of continuing to enrich and nourish those deep, genuine, meaningful connections around you. On the same note, thank goodness for group communication – a surefire way to stay connected at any given time in some format.
Appreciating the Beauty of Nature – With all the limitations that were brought about from this pandemic – especially in the summer – we were pretty much forced to look at what was already around us. I developed a renewed sense of appreciation for the crispness of the fresh air when out for a walk or run. I saw the beauty of the nature and greenery around me in a way I hadn’t before.
Rediscovering the Essence of Paperback – The pandemic has forced me to actually read more books and it’s been a really delightful experience. How many of us are guilty of buying one book after another (whether hardcopy or online) only to let it collect or storage space on your device? Before this events of this year, it was so challenging to just get through one book. I would have every intention to, but there was always something that would get in the way. I joined a book club this year (which, by the way is a fantastic and unique way to stay in touch with like-minded people), and it has really kicked my butt into high gear when it comes reading. I’m currently reading Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani and it is an amazing read about her tumultuous journey from cancer to a remarkable recovery. We know that while social media is a great way to stay connected, too much of it can cause a drain on your mental health. It’s so important to take the time away from your Instagram or TikTok and redirect your focus on something else entirely.
The Power of Forgiveness – This one is particularly important. If there is one thing the pandemic of 2020 has taught me, it is to liberate yourself with forgiveness. The healing powers that come along with it can be overwhelmingly up-lifting. The pandemic has almost level-set the planet and has shown us that all the noise and chaos in the world cannot hide the fact that we are all humans with the vulnerabilities, emotions and feelings. Forgiveness is about healing yourself, first and foremost so that you can continue on in life without carrying that weight on your shoulders. It’s about attracting and circulating positive energy into the universe. It’s about mutually meaning well for one another. That is best thing we can do after the kind of year we have had.
A good recent real-life example of forgiveness and healing was illustrated in the Fresh of Bel-Air Reunion special which aired earlier this year. Will Smith and Janet Hubert settled a 27-year long feud and it was the most beautiful, humbling, moment ever. (Stay tuned for a post on that.)
Living in the Moment – 2020 has certainly screamed relishing the now. Couple that with forgiveness and imagine the level of peace that you could truly experience. When you make that much more effort to not sweat the small stuff and just take each day as it comes, can make a world of a difference on your emotional well-being. Before this pandemic hit, I have always viewed a new year as a continued progression of your life journey – rather than a start/stop type of dynamic. It’s also why I have never really been a fan of resolutions. You end up putting unnecessary pressure on yourself when Jan. 1 hits – and how often are those resolutions actually fulfilled? I am of the mentality that you need to look at your life as a whole, and focus on the progress that you’ve been making with each passing year being another stepping stone in that evolvement.
How can you continue to be a better version of yourself in 2021?
I will conclude with this: This year has been exceptionally difficult for many people for various reasons that go beyond COVID-19. At the same time, 2020 has been a year of immense joy for families that have brought new life into the world. So while it may be favourable to say ‘eff you’ to 2020, we should be sensitive to the fact that there have been some very positive and warm milestones this year that people would not want ‘tainted’ by this pest called COVID-19.
I pray for love, warmth and peace for everyone as we move forward. I’ll say this cautiously: while it is promising for vaccines to already be in circulation, we are still a ways from being on the other side of this as new strains of the virus come to light. I am grateful for the progress made and optimistic that we are taking baby steps towards seeing the end of this dark cloud that has loomed over our planet all year.
May 2021 shine much brighter and bring us a renewed sense of normalcy, peace, good health and prosperity.
Happy New Year