I know. 2020, what a weeeeird year. It’s been a painful year. It’s been a hard year. It’s been a lonely year.
Could we have done without the pandemic? Absolutely. Could we have slowed down the illness and death rate if we had better ‘leadership’ in America? Definitely. Do I wish I could have seen my family and shared margaritas with my friends? Of course.
Do I wish 2020 turned out differently than it did?
I’ve been fairly quiet on here (yes last post was from September) but big transformations have been occurring within my heart, soul and head.
I may be one of the few people, at least according to what I see on social media, that isn’t shoving 2020 out the door with a mighty force.
I can totally feel your eyes get wide reading that, because it’s also sort of shocking for me too.
Personally, we rang in 2020 off the coast of Sydney, Australia in Manly Beach.
The sentence reads gloriously, doesn’t it?
While I was grateful to be there, I was also still mentally in a dark and scary place at the beginning of the year. While the wildfires raged around us, my own rage continued to billow.
Here’s a common misconception, especially around postpartum depression: most people assume you’re just really bummed out and sad all the time. Actually, for a lot of women, PPD manifests itself into extreme anger, irritation and agitation. That was me.
I was barely on the other side of ‘stable’ with my severe postpartum depression and anxiety. My marriage was struggling because of it. I wasn’t a kind person to be around, particularly if you happened to be my husband or children. I hate admitting that but it’s the truth.
I remember feeling so lost and hopeless and full of a paralyzing anxiety that I would never feel happy or content in my life. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know my struggles and war with mental health in the form of anxiety and depression has plagued me for as long as I can remember.
I was also plain pissed that despite years of therapy, alternative medicine like acupuncture and chiropractic care, maximum dosage of medication, meditation, and I'm sure even at some level getting my master’s degree in social work so I could figure out what the hell was going with me (and with others)…I still felt so empty and irritable and anxious.
2020 definitely started off as a hard for me and this was before the pandemic even hit.
All that being said, I had one little ray of hope. I hired a coach (hi Demi!) with the intention that she would help me find my big life purpose and maybe then I could at least feel some happiness and purpose.
It was my first massive investment in myself. It was scary. My husband and I spent a lot of time talking through the investment, how I could make that money back, how investing that large amount would require me to show up in a completely different way.
I viewed my time with her as my last-ditch effort. Nothing else seemed to work or it was temporary.
Our work together was transformational in every sense of the word.
She taught me how The Mind works and in doing so, I realized on a deep level how our thoughts create our reality.
I discovered how deeply I grasped for control of e v e r y t h i n g, often assuming that my worrying and anxiety kept the planets in orbit, my family safe and myself ‘protected.’ Once I understood how my own thoughts about motherhood, anxiety, depression, the world and even myself kept me in this negative space for as along as I could remember, I couldn’t unsee it.
We are all one thought away from changing our world. I’m sure I’ve read that similar sentence over the years but it wasn’t until this year, the year 2020, that I felt it.
While I’m sharing this with you, I’m writing this for me.
I can’t hate 2020. I can dislike elements of it. I can feel deep sadness about the loss of so many lives and how scary it was to get so sick for so many people. I can empathize with millions of people experiencing their own bouts of anxiety and depression, many for the first time in their lives.
But I can’t hate 2020.
Yes, I’ve had my own deeply personal and transformative year but the whole damn world has experienced a transformation.
The pandemic has forced us all into “The Great Pause.” It’s showed us how precious time with people we love really is, how important and physical touch is and also how much we, as a society, depend on external stimuli to make us feel well rounded.
This Great Pause almost tanked our business. We went into forbearance on our home because we had no idea how we could pay our mortgage. We went on unemployment because literally within a week as the pandemic ramped up, we lost 90% of our income. We quarantined like nobody’s business because of extremely high-risk family members. We pulled our kids out of daycare partly because of those high-risk family members and also because for a while, we couldn’t afford it.
By no means was 2020 easy but upon reflection, it wasn’t supposed to be.
We needed this.
I can feel the juxtaposition of this, even in writing it. So many people have lost loved ones, closed businesses, experienced lasting health issues. The frontline workers, tirelessly working and risking their lives to save ours. It’s fucked and it’s not pretty and yet, I still believe we had to have this experience.
To me, it feels almost like Mother Nature was like "Hey Y’all – I’ve asked you to take better care of me and the planet and of each other and because you haven’t listened, now you need to go to your room and stay there until you’ve learned your lesson!" #Quarantine
I know I’m in the minority of people who aren’t forcefully trying to shove 2020 out the front door to usher in 2021 with hopes of better times ahead.
Here’s the other thing I know: we can’t control external events. What we can have a say in, is how we choose to respond to them.
One of the biggest stressors in my life was having my husband traveling 200+ days a year and me left soloparenting. Well, this put a pause to that and in that pause, my husband discovered he didn’t actually want to be traveling and missing out on family life. He’s changed his business model and is much happier because of it. I am much happier because of it. We, as a family unit are so freakin’ happy about it.
One of my biggest fears prior to this year was being stuck at home with my kids and having no identity outside of ‘mom.’ How many days was I with my kids this year? Every. Freaking. Day. The only way out is through and 2020 gave me that opportunity over and over and over again. I’ve now found my harmony in my identity as ‘mom’ and unraveled a bunch of stuff I had with that.
2020 was hard. Reminder: We can do hard things. We have done hard things. We are doing hard things.
I invite you to consider what 2020 has given you and how you will live your life different, because of it.
Stay safe and be well!