None of us has gone untouched by the challenges of 2020, the daily winnowing away of routines, habits, and traditions seems to have only prepared us for greater losses. The beginning felt like a reprieve as all who could delighted in new work-from-home schedules and mandated vacations from the regular routines we had all grown weary of performing. All of our rituals were altered and perhaps at first, at least for me, it felt like a generous unburdening. A relief from birthday parties, practices, and meetings. Having a reason not to attend was a gift.
Of course the balance to this was the new sensation of impending doom and fear that began to encroach on the periphery of my reality. But these things felt minor, so far away from the material shifts happening in my daily life that they stayed on the edges of my awareness. Yet, as I recreated normalcy and cobbled a routine into the new life that COVID pressed upon us all that fear edged its way ever closer to my camp fire, ever nearer to the heart of my home, family, and personal life. But even as this specter stalked us in our waking nightmares it brought with it gifts and new opportunities that before its arrival none of us could imagine.
This sounds a bit like a fairy tale, a little scary but etched with hope and golden strands of magic woven into each image. And in a way it is, for me at least. Recently I have taken time to consider what gifts 2020 has brought to me and found my list quite long. And therefore, I have decided to break up these unexpected gifts into several posts. I cannot forge into 2021 without the tools that 2020 gave me, it would be foolish to leave behind the skills we have in order to search for those we desire. And therefore as we enter 2021 it will be with strength and endurance forged in the fire of 2020 – there is no hotter kiln and there are no weak warriors. And just as I am grateful for the education and experience that brought me to where I am in life, I am grateful for all I have learned and gained in 2020. There is much I did not know that I needed but now realize it leaves me prepared to forge ahead into the unknown with confidence and courage.
What gifts of 2020 do you most value? What sacrifices have impacted you most?