It was a Different Kind of Year.
Those of us who drive an automobile typically know where we are going and how we are going to get there when we get behind the wheel. If we are headed to unfamiliar territory, we use a GPS to help us navigate our route. This year, even the most experienced drivers and trusted systems went haywire, providing little assistance because even the systems themselves couldn’t track the routes to our desired destinations. It was like pioneers cutting a path where there was no path before. Many of us have ended up where we had never been before, and some of us arrived where we had no intention of ever going ... ever.
The person who wrote “Life is about the journey not the destination,” must have lived through a pandemic like the one we faced this year. It has been quite a journey to say the least. You may relate to some of my experiences, and I would truly love to hear yours!
I began in January with a plan, like I do every year. My annual Goal-Getting day is a play on words, partly because I am a writer and I like word creativity, and partly because I am a very goal-oriented woman with high expectations for getting what I set my mind to. I review the previous year’s plans, celebrate the accomplishments, and reboot (or boot) unfinished goals. The year 2020 sounded cool, so I established a Top 20 and listed 20 things to accomplish in 2020. I then created action steps to reach my desired destination for physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, and relationship goals for the “miles” to be traveled (12 months). However, on March 13th, my playbook was stolen, my GPS went down, and even my experience and wisdom from 60ish years of my hard-knock life was of little use to me. I was lost.
Where am I? How did I get here? Is this the Twilight Zone? Am I being punked? Every day brought new confusion, disappointment, and challenges. And I’m usually up for a challenge. I have been through a lot in my life, so I took the same “big-girl-panty” approach of head down, eyes forward, one day at a time, one choice at a time, moment by moment, inch by inch that I have always taken. But which way was forward? I found myself, like many of you, feeling as if it were the blind leading the blind, finding strength by focusing on the positives, and what I could control. For me, most things weren’t necessarily good or bad, they were just different.
Goal-getting was going to look very different this year.
- Accepting the position as a Wellview Health Advisor was on my list.
- Closing my coveted office and training center that housed my private practice was not! I cried the ugly cry when the keys were pried from my hand BUT working virtually from my home office was not on my list, and it will now forever be on my list! Win!
- My husband’s impactful 35 year ministry was sidelined for a job as Installation Manager at a flooring company. This was not on the list, but his ministry goes with him to work anywhere so he has brought great value there, and it helped us to keep our beloved home. Win-win!
- Prioritizing my health and wellness is always on the list, but being home every day to work out in my home gym and having the time to cook some of the healthiest meals I’ve ever cooked was not. Win!
- Buying healthy food is always on the list, but having it delivered right to my door was not. Win!
- Taking a week-long trip to see Houston kids and grandkids was on the list, but seeing all 9 family members virtually every single Sunday was not. WIN!
For everything that was on the list that didn’t happen there was something amazing that did!
Let's play a game. Create your own list of losses and wins. Ask each family member to do the same. Compare lists and enjoy what your 2020 looks like in the rearview mirror.
It was a different kind of year. I do not like to hear people say, “Oh well, it is what it is!” Because with this, and most things, “it” is what you make it. 2020 has been a devastating year for those who have lost loved ones, a rough year for those who have lost jobs, and a difficult year for those who struggle with mental health. But for most, it has been a different kind of year.
I’m doing a different kind of coaching. Instead of in-person sessions, I do virtual sessions, and I am able to serve more people than ever before because there is no travel time.
We had a different anniversary. On March 23, we celebrated 46 years as husband and wife by choosing 46 things to do around the house! For context, listen to House Party by Sam Hunt. “You don’t have to leave the house to have a good time…” We had a fabulously fun weekend at home. We shared stories at our outdoor fire pit, watched movies, worked puzzles, played board games, ping-pong, and cards. We ended the 46 things with a virtual family gathering on Sunday afternoon. This started a whole new different thing – The Virtual Family Gathering, complete with tours of house projects, and in-home learning spaces of our granddaughters (one in a closet). We used to see them a couple of times a year in person, and all year we were “face-to-face” every Sunday.
Your kids are likely having a different kind of school year, but maybe you are like my granddaughter, Reegan, who created a “closet classroom” that she loves. Your family likely had a different kind of spring break, but you focused on what you could do and did it as a family! Maybe you had a different kind of Mother’s Day / Father’s Day than planned, but if the words in your card expressed your love for them, it was perfect! You can have a different kind of birthday than usual: buy yourself something amazing with all the money you save from not buying booze, food, and decorations for a big party, then send a photo of what you got for yourself to everyone you would have invited! I hope you had a different kind of Thanksgiving and found yourself being grateful for the things that really matter, and a different kind of Christmas where you enjoy a silent night and celebrate the reason for the season.
As you prepare to have a different kind of New Years’ eve, I pray you remember that each day is a gift, and that you become a different kind of person because this was a different kind of year.
A rearview mirror is for the driver to see the road behind, so go ahead, like I did, and take a look at your unachieved plans, but be sure to see your unplanned achievements! You have traveled some long, rough roads, navigated some dangerous curves, and in many cases, cut paths where there was no road before. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back and thank others who have been there for you during the twists and turns, but know the journey isn’t over yet. You will need to turn your eyes to the road yet to be traveled. Pay attention to where you are right now, and make the present moment matter, because it matters most.
We have all done the very best we could do in 2020. With so many things outside of our control, we had to learn to be okay with controlling what we can control. Looking in the rearview mirror can give you perspective, but when we look back too long, we will run into something! We end up wasting valuable travel time on the wish we hads, should haves, could haves, and if onlys. Stop it! Hindsight is 2020 (pun intended).
Happy New Year!
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– STEPHANIE WOLFE, NBC-HWC