As we look back on 2020, it may be an understatement to say it has been a hard year for everyone. We have collectively experienced so many changes triggered by a pandemic that has claimed almost two million lives, caused mass unemployment, hardship, and hunger. Although the Corona virus has created the global backdrop, it hasn’t detracted from the injustices have been highlighted through the civil rights movement and the continuing US election debacle. 2020 has stripped away much of what we took for granted and promoted polarization to a frightening extent.
It would be wonderful if ‘that was then and this is now’, and we could sail in to 2021 full of positive energy and ‘Good Will to All People’, however a more accurate narrative would be that uncertainty, loss and grief will be with us for a long time to come. How we deal with this ‘new normal’ is individual and personal and although I can’t advise a strategy for anyone else, I can speak to my own!
As hard as it is, I will try to open my heart and become more empathetic. I will acknowledge that there is no ‘getting over’ grief, or ‘getting around it’, I must simply move forward with it. I have to accept that it’s OK to not feel OK, because it’s the only way I will come to understand myself better.
Here are some things that help organize my thoughts and give me focus:
- When I get sad, I keep a journal that allows me to convert my feelings into language. This ‘written stream of consciousness’ can be discarded as soon as the ink is dry, however the process of transcribing ‘pain to pen’ is deeply therapeutic for me. Conversations with a friend or counsellor have a similar effect… marshalling of thoughts, in whatever form can help to calm the maelstrom of a spinning mind.
- I strive to be gentle with myself and pay attention to my body’s aches and pains and stop for needed breaks to recharge. Productivity at all cost is not something I aspire to! I learned from our December Ambassador, Tracy, that setting time for breaks proactively, is even better.
- I find hope in helping others. I know my life is a gift and I feel best when giving to others. Volunteering makes a difference in other peoples’ lives and gives my life more meaning.
And when I am over-whelmed, I remember Winnie the Pooh’s sage advice:
There is something you must always remember…
You are braver than you believe,
Stronger than you seem,
And smarter than you think.
My wish for all in 2021, is that we stay as safe and healthy as we can, we open our hearts and minds and understand that an adversary is not automatically an enemy. Let’s reach out, connect and try to make another’s life easier. Regardless of race, religion, or creed, we are all human, on one planet, with one destination.
Thank you to our SideStix family for being one of the highlights in our lives over the past year. You show up, get out, and Live Life! You’re an inspiration to us and those around you, so let’s grab that enthusiasm, and see where it takes us in 2021!
Happy New Year!