Why I Can’t Hate 2020
I know. 2020, what a weeeeird year. It’s been a painful year for many. 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 ushing 2020 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. 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 were 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, years of alternative medicine like acupuncture and chiropractic care, meditation, even getting my master’s degree in social work so I could figure out what the hell was going with me and with others, oh and being on the maximum dosage of Zoloft…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 and we would be getting started come mid-January 2020.
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 of nurses and doctors, tirelessly working their whole lives to save our lives. It’s fucked and it’s not pretty and yet, I still believe we had to 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!’ #Quaratine
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. We can do hard things. We have done hard things.
I invite you to consider what 2020 has given you and how you will live your life different, because of it.
Cheers to 2021 – stay safe and be well.
Chelsea, this is a wonderful post. Am so happy and thrilled for you! Our thoughts shape our reality…something I am coming to terms with myself and it is very empowering. Wishing you and your family the very best in this new year!
Thank you Claire for your comment! I’m happy to hear you’re coming to find ‘thoughts shape our reality’ to be true for you too. It really is empowering once we understand how the mind works! Wishing YOU a marvelous new year too 🙂
I echo your thoughts and sentiments Chelsea. Well done for expressing this so aptly! I’m in exactly the same boat as you, and despite getting Cancer and losing my Mother, 2020 was my best year ever. Spending time with my husband has been such a blessing and recognising how interconnected we all are has been a revelation. Thank you and wishing you and Ryan (and your 2 gorgeous children)a blessed 2021!
Wow Denise – losing your mom and getting cancer in 2020 AND you still don’t hate it? I’m super impressed by you, your tenacity and your ability to focus on the good. I’m glad you’ve been able to spend more time with your husband and absolutely love hearing the interconnection has deepened! Keeping you in my thoughts for health and healing
This was such a great post! I related to your PPD and PPA struggles so much. I’m glad your family’s routines and way of life has shifted in such a positive way this year!
Thank you Amberly! Admittedly, I’ve been out of the blogging world and I miss our group of us posting all.the.tiiiiime. I hope you are continuing to find ways to manage your anxiety throughout this hard times too. Thank you for being vocal about your own struggles too. I find it so reassuring to know we aren’t alone!
Chelsea what a beautiful reflection and evolution. There’s a huge ache and stomach pit ickiness about the 2020 experience but I wouldn’t change it either. The isolation it brought was simultaneously the worst and best part. It was a forced invitation to slow down and question everything. I love seeing you on the other side of so much juicy self discovery.
I agree with you. 2020 wasn’t awesome, but I figured out how to be a mom and wife and employee. I was on anti-depressants the entire year. I slowed the eff down and tried to take one day at a time. 2019 was my worst year yet, but 2020 was almost healing for me. I’m glad you were able to experience something similar. Good for you for investing money and time and attention to yourself. You deserve and need that. Your kids need you to be the best Chelsea you can be and YOU need the even more so. Glad you’re still here and glad you’re taking care of you <3