“Bring back the Roaring 20’s!” we said. “2020 is our year!” we said. “This is the year I’m going to ____.” Sound familiar? Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: 2020 was NOT the year we imagined when the ball dropped. But, does that mean we wasted a year of our lives and that this year was a total wash? Some might say yes, and that is okay! Everyone’s feelings about this year are valid. Everyone’s experiences are unique. I might be one of the only people in the world who is grateful for 2020 and the lessons it taught me. Rather, I’m grateful for what I learned about myself and about what I want out of life. So, here’s my little list of my biggest learnings:
- Focus on the Good It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity, but I learned how important it is to focus on the positive things, the good things. Even if it’s really small, like, “I didn’t burn the eggs this morning!” (I burned a lot of eggs this year.) I had to re-plan my entire wedding due to COVID. I was furious and heartbroken, but I told myself over and over again, you get to marry the love of your life. There is nothing that can steal your joy. I had to shift my perspective which was not easy, but it was worth it. How could the year I got married be a bad year?
- Savor Family Time Too much family time is a real thing, but it’s never enough at the end of the day. Nick and I were living with my parents and 2 younger siblings when we went into Arkansas’ version of a lock down. We had theme nights (yes, we had a speak easy in the basement!), game nights, and hot tub nights. We were living it up and it was all fun and games…until it wasn’t. If you have siblings, you understand that there is a limit on the time you can spend with them when you’re stuck in the same four walls. We exceeded that limit. We got into petty fights. We’re human. I was so ready for our moving day in June! Nick and I would have our own house again and sleep in the same room again (dad’s house, dad’s rules)! I was ready for a break from family time. Until I wasn’t. I bawled like a baby backing out of my parents’ driveway. Now, I live 10 hours away and would give anything to have another family theme night!
- Life’s Too Short to Be Unhappy Hearing the horror stories of the families’ whose loved ones lost their lives to this virus stopped me in tracks. It made me re-evaluate so many things and take into account what my priorities are. I realized that one of the biggest stressors in my life is my job and that it quite frankly wasn’t making me happy. In fact, I can be miserable to be around. That’s what prompted me to start searching for what truly makes me happy and set me down this path of writing to cope with my anxiety, stress, and the unknown of what my career path holds. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my students. I love them so much that I know it’s time for me to start looking into other options. I can’t be the best for them if I’m not the best version of myself. This pandemic has taught me how precious life is and I want to live mine in a way that spreads joy, not misery.
I’m grateful for what I’ve learned this year. So, thanks Covid and 2020 for the life lessons! Like you, I think they’ll stick around for a while. Peep the collage below for some of the highlights of 2020.