I’m not entirely sure if I’ll ever want to click back on a post having to do with the year 2020, but just in case, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to sum it up a little with a list.
I’d be lying if I said that 2020 was a “good” year in comparison to others, but even still there were certainly good things that came out of it. Ever since the spring, I think we’ve all been pushed to our limits in so many different ways. We’ve been forced to slow down, think about things more, decide what’s really important, worry about things we had never considered before, and do all of this while life still played out in front of us. It was hard. I hope we don’t ever have to do it again, but there’s no way that I want to let an entire year of what’s already a short time here go by without at least reflecting on the ways that it changed me or changed the way that I look at things. I want to at least recognize some of the good because otherwise I feel like 2020 won – and I’m not going to let it. So here are 20 thoughts about the year 2020.
- When you have to let things go, it’s connections that you miss. Canceled plans, postponed vacations, clear calendars… those are all signs of this past year. But the thing is that it’s not missing out on the “things” that leave our hearts aching, it’s the missed connections with people. Sure, I loved always having something coming up to look forward to on the calendar, but the reason I really loved it is because I got to be around people I love. Regular life is wonderful, but what makes it even more amazing is all of the people you get to share it with.
- The resilience of our kids is something to be proud of. My goodness, can you imagine what the year has been like through their eyes? Especially for kids who thrive on a predictable schedule with school, their little minds and hearts have had to adjust to changes over and over again – and the part that really gets me is that they’ve done it with grace and better attitudes than most of us big people.
- It’s essential to be flexible in life and business. I don’t love change. I love doing what’s always worked and knowing what the outcome will be. Becoming more flexible is a learning curve for me, but I’m working on it! Being able to pivot this year was so important.
- Home has to be your happy place. We’ve all spent SO much extra time at home lately, and I think it’s made many of us realize how our home is or isn’t working for us. I’m guessing we’re all going to want to get out of the house as much as humanly possible next year, but it still brought to light the fact that we need our homes to be somewhere we love being. And this is a huge reason that I love the line of work I’m in.
- Time spent with the people we love is never wasted. I can’t wait to do some of the simplest things ever, with the people that I like being around the most. It’s funny how the most normal thing, like just stopping by to say hi to a friend, is something I can’t wait to do again without worry.
- Going out to eat in restaurants is the best. Take-out is cool and all, but going out to eat is better. Don’t you just miss going to restaurants like we all used to? I mean you get to get out of the house, all of the cooking, eating, and cleaning mess is somewhere else where you don’t have to deal with it… AND someone is there to wait on you! What could be better?
- Planning and going on vacations makes me happy. I fully understand that not getting to go on vacations is not a “real” problem compared to the havoc that this pandemic has created for many. But I will never ever again take for granted how much happiness it brings me to buy airplane tickets, plan, and go on trips with my family. When I think about some of my happiest memories and my favorite pictures to look back on, so many of them are from vacations. They are like the icing on the cake of our years and I can’t wait to have one to look forward to again.
- You can only control your little bubble of the world. One of the negatives that came out of 2020 is a whole lot of judgement towards others. I’d like to think that as humans we’re recognizing this now and working towards making it better, but I think we still have a ways to go. One lesson I’ve learned this year is that I can only control my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions.
- Curbside pick-up should stay forever. I don’t think there’s a parent out there who wouldn’t agree with me on this one. Of course there are times when I love actually going in a store, but how convenient is it to park and have someone bring your stuff out to you? I would’ve taken FULL advantage of this service when my kids were babies and the thought of getting them in and out of car seats sometimes was too daunting for me to even make the trip!
- No matter what, the world keeps spinning. So many times during this pandemic I’ve reflected on how much “normal” is still hidden in the craziness of the world – bad and good. There are still love stories and babies and tragedies that have nothing to do with a pandemic. I became an aunt to two amazing new nephews in the midst of this year. I witnessed people getting married in amazing and intimate ceremonies – all while the pandemic was happening. I think my point is just that if you need a glimpse of normal – it’s still out there, and not everything is canceled.
- I genuinely just like people. You know all of the feel-good stories you hear about people helping each other this year? I love those. I know most people have that amazingness in them, that most are good people, and they all have their own stories and uniqueness. I just can’t wait to get back to being with people because we’re all pretty cool.
- You don’t have to be happy all of the time. I try as hard as I possibly can to be positive most of the time. But this year I did realize that sometimes you just can’t be, and that’s okay too. The weight of life during a pandemic takes its toll, and not every single day is going to be rainbows and unicorns. But you know what? Sometimes going through those hard days make the happy days even better.
- I learned that it’s okay to stand up for what I believe in. If you’ve read some of my past posts, you might know that I’m a law enforcement wife. And you might know where this is going – that it wasn’t a great year for law enforcement. Whatever your beliefs are about this controversial topic from this year – you’re entitled to that. And so am I. The older I get the more I realize that just because an idea or a belief is popular or people who are older and (I thought) wiser than me think it, it doesn’t mean that it’s right. And more importantly, I get to have an opinion about it and it’s okay to say that opinion out loud.
- I learned that you don’t have to go back to every single thing from the past. I’ll be the first person to say that I loathe the phrase “new normal” and the way it’s been used this year. But, there is something to be said for picking and choosing which parts of the way things were that we want to go back to. If this pandemic made you realize that your kids need you more and you used to work way too much – then I feel like this is your chance to change that. I’ll admit I have a problem with always wanting to make others happy, even if that means saying yes to things on days when I really wanted to do something else. Not allowing myself to do this (as much) will be one takeaway for me from this year.
- I found out that you can, in fact, “worry yourself sick.” That phrase has always just been a phrase until this year. Nothing like a pandemic to make every single cough, sneeze, and random body ache stop you in your tracks. I don’t think it feels hard to take a deep breath in… wait, does it? If I had a dollar for every time that my brain told me “maybe you have covid,” I’d be rich.
- I learned to pray more in the last year than I ever have in my life. How many times this year have you said to yourself, “what on earth is going on here, I just don’t get it?” I had many moments, especially this summer, where I just couldn’t see why things were the way that they were. I don’t have the answer to those questions that I kept asking myself, but sometimes it’s just nice to know that not everything is your problem to fix and there’s always a plan.
- Sometimes you have to seek out and make the fun. This was just one of those times when fun times didn’t just happen to come along, you had to go out and make them happen. For example, whoever thought of the idea of doing a drive-by birthday party for their kid – they made their own fun in the midst of the situation they had to work with. And that’s been a really important lesson for 2020. There are just some situations where you get out of it what you put in. And trust me, I know that there were days of this year when I didn’t feel like putting much into it either. But I do know that we all had to work to make some of our happy memories.
- Good friends are like gold. If this year didn’t make you value your true friendships, I don’t know what will. These relationships are part of the glue that holds our lives together, and the time we got to spend with our friends this year (which wasn’t nearly enough) was so valuable to me.
- I realized who the true heroes are and who I hope my kids look up to. This year it was pretty easy to tell who the helpers are, and I think we will all be forever grateful. The true heroes of 2020 are the doctors and nurses working on the front lines, the police officers and firefighters and everyone in between – even the people working in the grocery stores… so much of this year was scary and unknown, and their commitment to helping us didn’t waiver, and that’s something. These are the people who I hope my kids look to as role models. Not the celebrities, the sports stars, or their favorite YouTuber.
- If we made it through this, we can do pretty much anything. I am not the same person that I was at the beginning of 2020, and I bet you aren’t either. Without a doubt I have more wrinkles, that’s for sure. But I’m coming out of this year with the wisdom of having made it through something really hard. And so are you. So for all of the crappy things that we could say about the year, I want to end this list just by saying “we did it.” It’s not going to magically be different when the clock strikes midnight tonight, but it sure will feel good to turn the page and focus on that little bit of light that we can see at the end of the tunnel.