Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.Lyndon B. Johnson
Happy New Year and good riddance to 2020! This is something I have been saying to everyone as we leave 2020 behind. Undeniably one of the most challenging years we have faced as a country and as individuals. But I have a lot to be thankful for in 2020 and as I reflect on the year of a ravaging pandemic, out-of-control fires, and political turmoil, I realize how exhausting it was carrying around the anvil of negativity, stress, and anxiety.
As I look forward to a new year of renewal and hope, I have decided to drop the weight of 2020 negativity and look for the positive moments I can carry forward into the New Year. I saw communities torn apart by political strife and violence which later came together under a common purpose – to help their neighbors. Light was shone on issues that have long lurked in dark shadows of our country providing an opportunity for education and enlightenment. It will be a long road to heal these hurts, but now we can move forward through knowledge and understanding.
The workplace no longer looks like it once did, but it was time for a makeover anyway. Employees have been asking for change and flexibility in their work-life balance and were often met with resistance from the corporate world. The pandemic forced employers to reconsider long held beliefs about how work could be accomplished, and in a few months old policies had to be discarded and new ways to work adopted. These changes are a step forward to providing the flexible work environment that many have been seeking for years and without the pandemic would have taken decades to accomplish.
On a personal level, I have learned that I am perfectly capable of learning new technology as I navigate working from home. My husband and I were still able to get out and hike and snow shoe throughout the year and we had some wonderful days in the mountains. I was able to connect with relatives in other countries via Zoom – relatives I hadn’t seen in years appeared on my computer screen. I look forward to every Wednesday when Kyle Clark of 9News announces the new Word of Thanks campaign, highlighting an organization helping those in need and providing an opportunity to donate to organizations I otherwise would not have known existed. I am thankful we are able to make donations and help people facing homelessness and hunger, help the wildland firefighters, those who face struggles in the LGBTQ communities and many more.
It was also the year I took my prize photo – by accident. On a hike with my best friend I saw a bird land on a rock near the place where we were resting and eating lunch. I have never been great at taking photos, but it doesn’t stop me from trying. I whipped out my cell phone to capture the bird. I took several photos and as I did so another bird flew into the frame. And there it was – what I like to call my National Geographic moment. It was a simple moment, but one of joy. It was also the year I baked a cake from scratch with my son, and we laughed so hard I will always remember that moment. And isn’t that what we have to hang onto when there’s so much negativity around us? Those simple moments of joy?
So yes, good riddance to a year that saw the loss of so many, violence, political strife and home-bound fatigue. But it was also a year of thanks, community, and simple moments of joy. We should not sweep 2020 under the rug because there is much we should learn from the old year. If we forget, how will we continue to effect positive change?