2020 has been both the longest and the shortest year of my life so far. A lot of new has happened in our family, yet every day was filled with ordinary, mundane moments. We experienced fear, uncertainty, loss, struggle, but also love, bravery, vulnerability and transformation. And that's what I want to hold on to. I don't know what 2021 has in store for us, but I do know that there is hope. I have a feeling each one of us has a list of things we are happy to leave behind in 2020. I'm also certain each one of us found good and calm we want to hold onto in the New Year.
For me, I've learned that:
- Saying no more often and spending quality time with my kids is always the best choice. With Julian it means getting down on the floor, building with legos and showering him with kisses and tickles. With Adrian this looks like learning to draw and sew together while sipping hot chocolate, munching on bread with Nutella, and gently stroking his hand from time to time.
- Working as efficiently as possible means I can spend more time enjoying my life, my loved ones and doing things that make me happy. There's no glory in being overworked, "busy" and overwhelmed. But there is so much beauty in living a simple, authentic life that's yours!
- Trusting the process combats my anxiety and quiets my mind. So does daily meditation, setting boundaries around phone use and expressing gratitude. All of these practices make me a better human overall. No excuses and no late night catching up on emails.
- Showing my kids that being a part of our family means that they will be always loved. We are all human and being human means we make mistakes. There were plenty of times I messed up in the last nine months. Instead of drowning in guilt, I showed my kids that people who love each other very much apologize, make amends and try again to do better the next day.
- I can do hard things. But that doesn't mean that I should be responsible for carrying the whole load as a mom, wife, Zoom manager, employee, cook, doctor, entertainer etc. Change is necessary at the policy level and it requires our collective action. As individuals, let's make a commitment in 2021 to support organizations that work tirelessly to make workplaces better for all parents.
My biggest hope for 2021 is that gathering with people is allowed and safe again. I've missed being with others in the same room. I've missed wine nights, dinner parties, meet-ups, conferences. I've missed the sound of wholehearted laughs and loud conversations. Gosh, I've even missed having messy playdates at our home, a half a dozen of kids jumping on the couch and building pillow forts in our living room. Because 2020 reminded me that human connection is precious, magical and irreplaceable. The need for genuine human interaction is what connects us regardless of race, political views, gender, religion and socio-economic status. I hope 2021 brings us all together again, literally and figuratively.
What were your highlights of 2020? What are you taking with you into the New Year? What are your deepest hopes for the New Year?