Reframing 2020: Why I think we'll look back with gratitude.
One year ago this week (December 12, 2019, to be precise), I stood outside around midnight under the bright light of the full moon. It was a crisp, cold and clear night. I was shivering and taking it all in with the intention of remembering how I was feeling at that moment.
The suburbs are tranquil at that time of night, and I hoped the car I heard approaching was the one I was tasked with flagging down. My daughter was inside her home close to giving birth and a second midwife was on her way. I was relieved when the car slowed down and signalled to turn in. We quickly got into the house. It wasn't very long after that Clover was born. She celebrates her first birthday this weekend.
What a strange year it has been! Clover has yet to meet many of her extended family. People always wear masks in public in her experience. Her world hasn't included tagging along to her sibling's activities. And she has everything she needs. She is surrounded by love.
Some days I can get caught up in the sadness of what has been lost in the past year. And I think it is OK to acknowledge it sucks, and it has been hard. I also think it is good and helpful to think about what we've gained in the past year. Here are three things that have come out of this pandemic.
1. Clarity: Have you been surprised that you've been relieved to have a legitimate reason to say no to certain things in your life? I've had more than a few people say that they don't want to go back to living life the way they were. Being away from the daily grind has given them clarity about how they really want to live. This is the gift of the 'anthropause.' We are given time to align our lives to reflect what is most important to us. I call that soul-centered living.
2. Boundaries: We've had to step up and be clear about our boundaries this year. When we were allowed to choose our bubbles here in Ontario, where I live, people had to select ten people they would see. People that could be trusted to be true to only see the people within the bubble. It's been tricky. And it's been a chance to practice setting boundaries. It's also been an opportunity to practice respecting other people's boundaries. We may not like the boundaries other people set, but we need to respect them, especially if we want the same courtesy returned.
3. Experimenting: I don't know about you but every week seems like an invitation to rethink how I'm doing and make adjustments. We've had to adapt to lockdown life, followed by the partially loosening of restrictions and now we are cracking with the high possibility of another lockdown. We've relied heavily on technology to keep us connected and nature to keep us grounded. Learning to live life as an experiment has been a reframe for me. I'm trying different things each week to keep my mental health strong, including restricting media consumption and eliminating alcohol from my life right now. The words 'right now' are part of this learning. What works one week might not work the next. I'm learning to make fewer absolute statements about what I do or don't do and test and adjust depending on my choices' effectiveness. I am thankful chocolate is still working for me!
It's been hard living with so much uncertainty. We've lived with ambiguous grief on top of whatever other challenges life has brought our way.
And in the meantime, here are some good things I want to