Many of us take time on the last day of the year to reflect on our lives the previous year.
Some people make resolutions for the year to come.
Do we believe that at the stroke of midnight on January 31 a magic curtain opens and we walk into – a different life? A changed world? A better world?
If that’s the case, it would have been nice if, as the year turned over to 2020, we could have pulled that curtain shut. “Wait! I don’t want door number two! I want door number one!” We might have turned tail and run straight back to 2019, even if that year didn’t seem so great on December 31.
January First does not work that way. Life does not work that way. We can’t go back. We can’t wish the past away.
I refuse to feel like ten months of my life were a waste!
They weren’t. Nothing about life should be a waste.
There’s nothing magical about New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, yet here I am reflecting on the year past, as always. What are my feelings about 2020?
My first thought then and now is that my husband and I are both over sixty-five and have autoimmune conditions. Caution, then, and now is foremost in our minds. Whatever I may think is okay is tempered by him, and vice versa. We are “in this together” as we have been for almost forty-two years. For me, I don’t feel like I’m acting out of fear. We have always been common sense kind of people and that’s what guides us even now.
We have laughingly said that if COVID-19 will result in the survival of the fittest and that may not always be the young and strong but might include those with common sense!
Our life looks different than that of many others and certainly different than it did a year ago. For our safety, my son chooses to stay out of our house unless we need him to do something for us inside. Then he masks up and makes quick work of whatever the task may be. During the summer, when my daughter and her husband were both off work due to her pregnancy and then the birth of their second daughter, we were in their house two or three times then. We spent most of our time on their patio visiting our granddaughters. They were in our house twice. Otherwise, the only person we go to see inside is my ninety-three-year-old mother-in-law, although we didn’t even see her for several months at the start. I miss the luxury of visiting family indoors.
I’d love to say that I never felt a moment of fear or worry. I’d like to tell you that about a month ago I didn’t startle awake in the middle of the night from a COVID-mare, filled with anxiety and fear. I can say I have turned it over to God in prayer many times and personally feel that my 2020 life would have been a lot different for me without my faith.
Basically, however, 2020 has been okay to me. I feel thankful about so many things. The little things, the things I never thought much about before. I think I realize now, more than ever, how blessed and lucky I am and have been for years. Sometimes it takes a curve in the road or even a roadblock to help me realize this.
My Personal Blessings of 2020
- My husband and I have each other, even though, early on, our time together after I stopped leaving for activities each day, may have felt like overkill.
- My second granddaughter was born safe and healthy during COVID-19.
- I see my local children and grandchildren almost every week.
- I don’t teach anymore! (Poor teachers, students, parents.)
- I have internet and understand technology enough to use it to connect to people in various ways.
- My daughter sends me videos of the girls almost every day and facetimes me four or five times a week.
- I facetime my out of state daughter more often now.
- My son and I talk more regularly now.
- I have continued to meet virtually with my two faith groups which, during this year, have also been a social life line and have functioned as support groups for my mental health.
- I have met in the park with a group of my favorite friends who are former coworkers, my game day ladies. We text and talk on a regular basis. (Another social life line/support group.)
- I began learning Mahjongg in person in January. I now play online. It’s fun and great mental stimulation.
- I can continue to learn new things.
- My local library offers an amazing array of free, virtual classes. (I could learn composting or discover owl habits in Forest Park. I could join a virtual book club in a variety of genre and check out the books in print or electronically. I have taken a number of craftsy type classes and will be joining a crochet challenge and an art club in January.)
- I’ve created some watercolor projects.
- I have discovered, learned, and practiced the hand embroidery art form known as slow stitching, and find it very relaxing and meditative. It’s part of my new slower life.
- I have picked up my sketch pad and begun zentangle once again. This is also meditative.
- I have learned how to groom my dog and cut my husband’s hair. (Meanwhile, I have nine months of root growth, think wiry graying hair at the scalp. Hair that in March was cut just below the ears and shorter at the neckline is now past my shoulders. Thankfully it is finally long enough that when it gets annoying, I can put it in a ponytail to get it off my neck.)
- I have mastered the art of curbside grocery pick up at my incredibly efficient local Walmart. I have not been in a grocery store since March. (I am thankful for kind neighbors and family who have picked up those few items that I have not been able to snag curbside – think frozen turkey)
- My local kids and I had a wonderful outdoor Christmas celebration on a warmish day the weekend before Christmas, complete with holiday décor, throw pillows and plush red blankets.
If I did make New Year’s resolutions, which I don’t, every year that resolution would include becoming more patient. I feel like this year has made me more patient – with myself, with others, with events, with things not going my way. (I wish I could say I’m the epitome of patience now, but that would be a blatant lie!)
Yes. 2020 was door number two but I survived and I’m okay, maybe better.
I hope you can find some good in the year also.