As we close out this year, I want to acknowledge the struggles we have all been through. Along with the things that have hit me personally, I have witnessed the battles and distress of our clients and friends. I see the losses. I feel the trepidation of moving into 2021. I understand.
But even though 2020 has been one for the books (to put it mildly), I can’t help but see some incredible growth and love that has come out of it. I am not someone who goes for “toxic positivity,” but I still see some remarkable magic that has happened in the last twelve months.
Closer relationships from further away. We checked in with our people and rekindled relationships over the phone or via FaceTime and Zoom. I know people who haven’t spoken in 25 years, but who are now communicating weekly and are even working together on artistic projects.
Communities coming together. People have been running errands and buying groceries for their neighbors who are at risk and not able to venture out. We have been supporting our local business owners by buying services in advance, purchasing gift cards, ordering in favorite meals, and posting glowing reviews on Yelp.
Support for our hero health care workers. Donations of money, snacks, and critical masks and gowns come from individuals who know how vitally essential these medical professionals are. (Note: Above all, they tell us they most appreciate it when we follow the advice of the CDC and local authorities: staying home, practicing social distancing, and hand-washing—the best ways to “flatten the curve” and bring our healthcare workers real relief.)
Drive-ins, board games, and puzzles made a comeback. The simple things are making people happy. Connection and fun with the people, rather than another Netflix binge has been such a breath of fresh air.
Homeschooling = love for our teachers. Now we know. Helping our kids with online school has made us appreciate our teachers more and we are giving them praise they’ve deserved all along.
Live streaming and virtual concerts. With live entertainment taking an intermission, entertainers have been giving us live stream love from their homes. Suddenly concerts and shows that weren’t touring anywhere near your town are in your living room.
More walks and fresh air. There has been a huge increase in people outside walking in neighborhoods, parks, and on trails. People have even put teddy bears in their front windows for kids to spot, like an egg hunt.
Pandemic pets. There have been record-numbers of adoptions of pets in need. Although many people did this for the animals, they, perhaps unwittingly, set themselves up for better mental health during the pandemic. Caring for another being gives joy and purpose.
In no way do I mean to minimize the reality of an incredibly harsh and difficult year. We have lost loved ones. Many are struggling with unemployment and all of the pain that comes with it. We are justified in feeling sad, scared, frustrated, and broken. But, I urge you all to keep the faith. Because, I promise, you have enabled me to keep mine.
We will reach the other side of this. I know we will.