I’ve heard a lot of people talk about 2020 as a complete disaster, “a dumpster fire” if you will. I get it. This year has brought up a lot of unexpected and terrifically challenging things no one has ever encountered, or really ever thought they would encounter. People have gotten sick, lost family and friends, lost jobs. It’s a lot. But i don’t want to forget about the good. No matter who you are, or what you’ve gone through this year, there HAS been some good if you choose to see it. It’s brought about a level of introspection I think our culture isn’t quite used to, but is desperately needed. It’s forced time to ourselves, and a slower pace. I think all of us are headed into 2021 with a different perspective on life, and a circle of people around us that we trust just a little deeper than the wider circle we had at the beginning of the year.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Every one of us has a different experience of the last 12 months, and I’m not here to try to talk you out of your dumpster fire. I’m just here to remind you that we are here, in this exact moment, with a lot of good around us as well. So live your “fuck 2020” life if that serves you, boo. I’m not here to try to stop it. Light that match and burn the whole thing down. But maybe, just maybe, also take a second to also celebrate the shit out of making it through this weird ass year, and share with someone what they did to make it a little bit better. There’s a lot of power in this sort of thing. When we sit and focus on what is wrong or bad around us, oddly enough, more of that sometimes appears. When we focus on what’s pretty rad, sometimes we see a bit more of that. You choose what you’re into.
I am a different person than I was December 31, 2019. First of all, this time last year I was in NOLA, eating fried chicken barefoot at 1 am and listening to street musicians, but that’s a story for another time. This year, I’m sitting here while my family sleeps thinking about how freaking grateful I am that they’re both here. I’m sipping coffee gifted to me from a dear friend, out of a mug given to me by another dear friend. This coffee, this mug, they carry the energy of the love those two amazing women have for me, and I feel it. These are the things that bring me joy right now. It’s a simpler kind of happy. Don’t get me wrong….”Willie’s Chicken Shack” rarely disappoints, but this year is about being right where I am in this particular moment, and that involves celebrating what is real right now. This New Year’s Eve looks a lot different. It looks like we might not even make it to midnight, and that’s cool. But it does mean we will be together.
I go back to work next week after three months off. I’m terrified. I’m different, and I worry that this person might not be as successful at running a business. I’m worried this slower, more present version of myself isn’t the person that my team knew and loved. I have a fear about leaving my family to focus on work again. But what I do know is that I have a deep knowledge of what really matters now that ain’t going anywhere, and I’m craving the normalcy that my job provides. So I’ll go, and learn and adapt. Again. That’s what we do, right? Lean in, and grow from the challenges.
I’ve learned to stay right where I am this year. Sure...we need to do some level of planning. It’s just life. But we also don’t need to live there, in that plotting and planning for a time when we might be happier; when we might have more or made it to some pinnacle event that we think will fulfill us. Look around. There’s something to celebrate in every moment. So that’s where I am. It’s not easy, friends. I’m not over here gloriously happy all the time. But I am learning to let the feelings come, let them pass and breathe. A lot. And I’m finding that the ease comes quicker than it used to. This year has been the most painful year I’ve ever encountered, but it’s also been the most beautiful. I’ve felt lonelier than ever, but also more surrounded by love than ever. Those perspectives cannot exist without each other, so I’ll take them all and feel all of it.
I’m not going to give you some magical thing I’m going to focus on for 2021. Our brains can’t even wrap themselves around what next week might look like. Honestly, I’m just living in today. Today, I choose to say yes to what fills me up with joy more, and “no” to people and things that drain me. But tomorrow, who knows? Maybe tomorrow that looks different. A few days ago, in a parking lot outside of my favorite yoga studio, a wise friend of mine told me to stop trying to be the old me. This woman gets it. She’s someone I look up to. Her opinion and insights land deep in my heart, and when she speaks, I listen. She’s right. Tonight, I say goodbye to that old version. I thank her for the choices and mistakes she made. I accept her with gratitude, but I welcome this new version wholeheartedly.
Tonight when you celebrate in any way you choose, don’t be so quick to say “get TF out of here 2020” without looking back a bit first and sending it off with gratitude for the good that did come of it. I hope your night is full of laughter and love and whatever you do is exactly what you want to do. I know without a doubt that mine will be just that.