I love the week between Christmas and the New Year! For me it’s a strange, beautiful time of solitude and reflection. A time to relax and indulge, maybe do a little planning for the future, not knowing or caring what day it is. Um…not unlike every day of this past year…
And what a year it has been! It seemed so much longer, and was packed with so many more unpredicted, unpleasant events than any other year in memory.
How many times have I heard – and uttered – these phrases?
I’m blaming 2020.
It’s 2020’s fault.
Of course that happened — it’s 2020!
Good riddance 2020…..except nothing’s really changed.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic, financial crisis, civil unrest, and the most contentious U.S. election in modern history, this is a year we won’t soon forget. I have been happy to blame anything and everything on 2020, from not finishing my new book yet, to a neighbor’s giant tree falling on my roof, to a skunk taking up residence under my house. (It is only now dawning on me what an apt metaphor living with a skunk is for this entire year.)
Indeed, we have all become so accustomed to blaming everything on 2020 that I am starting to wonder:
What will we blame everything on come January 1st?
How will our 2020 hindsight serve us?
I mean, nothing’s really changed. The pandemic death rate is higher than ever. The election results are still denied by many.
But there’s HOPE for change. HOPE for the new vaccine. HOPE for healing the country and the economy. HOPE that we can all get our lives back on track in a way that seems familiar and comfortable, even if different — better in some ways? — than before. Right?
Don’t forget the silver linings. People are so creative! They have found new ways to work, learn, spend their time, and help each other. Some families have — ironically, despite their individual isolation — become closer as a result of tech tools such as Zoom. Many of my colleagues have jumped on the virtual organizing bandwagon, published books, created programs, and been quite productive.
And for those like me, who have been, um, somewhat less productive this year, I have been an advocate of giving yourself a break. We all have different layers of chronic issues and new stressors that accompany the constantly-shifting circumstances in which we all find ourselves. We’ve all been weathering the same storm, but in different boats.
And 2020 was the year of the new kitties! (It was a long, lonely year without George until they came along to rescue me.)
There is much to be grateful for.
Is Hindsight 2020?
There’s a funny (?) meme going around that says:
Nobody claim 2021 as “your year”.
We’re all going to walk in real slow.
Be good. Be quiet. Don’t. Touch. Anything.
This will be the first time we can say that hindsight is 20/20 AND 2020!
I hope we’ve learned something from all of this. But, if history repeats itself, we will soon forget.
So, now what?
Well, we can’t blame 2020 anymore. Can we?
I mean, bad stuff happens every year, right? So, now what?
Or, even better, in the words of President Bartlet on “The West Wing”:
Why is that better? Here’s the difference: “Now what?” (to me) implies bracing oneself for yet another unknown, but most likely unpleasant, occurrence. Whereas “What’s next?” contains a hint of hopefulness and the possibility that whatever is next on the agenda is something we can control, or at least take in stride. It is grounded in the present moment, not in regret for the past, or in worry for the future (both of which are forms of mental clutter).
Back to basics
Meanwhile, I’ve been so understanding of myself, and taken it so easy all year, that I’m now craving a little structure.
It’s back to basics for me. And it’s not like I don’t know what to do! Simply daily routines. Basic time management. No need to recreate the wheel.
Time to re-read some of my old blog posts, the ones captured in my New Year & Goal Setting Resource Roundup. Especially the ones in the Motivation category!
Last year’s post about FOCUS on 2020 is laughable in hindsight, although I do still rather like the poem I ended it with:
A Toast to 2020 > 2021
Here’s to peace in the New Year.
Peace at home.
Peace in the world.
And here’s to 20/20 vision > hindsight
for creating peace where we can,
by tweaking our daily habits,
by adjusting our expectations,
by fixing (or letting go of)
what is broken,
by voting our consciences,
by speaking our minds…
…and for seeing clearly the situations in which we have no control.
And, in hindsight, because I found it comforting and effective, I’m reverting to my several-years-ago “word of the year” which was actually a phrase: Progress equals happiness.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of progress. Even the smallest amount of progress, in a few areas per day, makes me happy and keeps the ball(s) rolling. Or the plates spinning. Or the metaphor of your choice.
So, I’m gonna do that again.
What’s next for YOU in 2021?
Are you hopeful? Do you have a motivational word or phrase for the new year?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2020 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
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