For many of us, we can’t wait to bid farewell to 2020 fast enough. From the impact of sickness and death from the pandemic to the trauma of witnessing the senseless murder of unarmed, innocent African Americans by police with no accountability, we have all been impacted by the events of 2020. Some of us have been more profoundly impacted than others, but the events of this year have shaped all of us. One of the lessons I have learned this year is to look for the blessings even in the midst of despair. As we close out this year, I encourage you to do the same. What gems have emerged from this year for you? Here are the top five gifts of 2020 for me.
- Being Still— Like most of us, I am involved in more things than I probably need to be. I don’t do much that I don’t want to do, but at times it can be overwhelming. This year gave me the opportunity to slow down and just be! Did I crave for social interaction at times? Absolutely! I also appreciated not being stretched in multiple directions. I missed gathering with family and friends for the holidays. I also enjoyed no pressure holidays. When the meal was done is when we ate. I had time to be in the moment instead of just moving on to the next thing.
- Family—I am grateful I like every human being sharing living space with me, and I don’t take that for granted. I fully appreciated we found new and intentional ways to connect—eating together often; eating in the dining room on Sundays; and watching movies and exercising together will be among fond memories of 2020.
- New Technological Tools & Skills—I learned to conduct virtual classes, workshops and professional presentations. Sure! We are all “Zoomed” out, but this and other platforms helped us to not only continue business as usual but helped to establish new connections. I now have a cousins’ GroupMe, and regular Zoom calls with different sets of friends. I did none of these before 2020.
- Health & Wellness—When the shutdown happened in North Carolina the first weekend and I saw that I had only walked 400 steps by 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, I knew I was going to have to do something different. I easily doubled my average daily steps during the pandemic. What’s funny is before 2020, I thought 10,000 steps a day seemed so out of my reach. In March I started out channeling my inner Beyonce and just dancing. I then moved to more cardio workouts. This is significant because I asbolutely do not enjoy cardio. This year, I found new ways to incorporate it in my day even at home. Every person in my house found his or her own thing to exercise consistently. In addition, we had more time to cook and experiment with new recipes.
- Think Outside the Box—This year forced us to think outside of the box. We have found creative ways to celebrate occasions and people. I commend both my daughters’ schools—one graduated from high school and the other completed 8th grade. Both schools planned thoughtful, safe ways to celebrate the occasions. We’ve gone to drive by graduations and birthday parties and Zoom bridal and baby showers. It wasn’t ideal, but we did it.
This year unexpectedly rocked our world in multiple ways. It also taught us some new things. What did you learn in 2020? How were you blessed? How did you demonstrate resiliency? Even on my worst days this year, I have still been able to see God’s goodness. I just had to look for it.