Today, as I write this, it’s February 6, 2021. Most people write their “wow, what a year last year was and these are my goals for the coming year” blogs somewhere around January 1. Most would say I’m a little late.
I’m late but deciding to give myself grace and say this is just the right time to share these thoughts publicly. I don’t have to tell anyone that 2020 was a miserable year. I could list all the things that went wrong and then talk about the pandemic. Yes, two different things.
But what’s the point? When I start to make a list, I can’t even remember everything that was a heartache, a struggle. I’ve deciding to stay true to my blog’s theme, which is looking to the sun through the thorns.
So, here is a fleshed out version of a Facebook post I made on January 1. I decided to list as many things as I could think of that went right in 2020, even if it’s a positive that came from a negative. This doesn’t deny what went wrong; it just helps me not be consumed by it.
To get out the mindset I’ve found myself in most the year, which is to keep an ongoing and cumulative list of everything that hurt in 2020.
So, here we go!
- Several of my worst food sensitivities improved noticeably. I can now eat most smoked meat, something I’ve had to avoid completely for about 15 years. I can also eat a bit more dairy than before.
- Fewer UTIs this year. I’m used to having 4-5 a year; it’s been like that my whole life. But in 2018 and 2019, I was having them every 6-8 weeks. It was miserable.
- Bothersome tooth removed. A sensitive tooth broke in March. Finally got so bad that I had to have surgery in December. The bothersome tooth is gone!
- Got established with a new dentist I like. I can’t even tell you how much I fear the dentist. Like crying while talking to the receptionist scared. But I like this place.
- We both stayed employed. So many lost their jobs during the pandemic, but both my husband and I stayed employed. In fact, John has been working 50-60 hours a week since the end of March.
- John’s overtime made some of the expensive drama not as burdensome to handle. Lots of medical bills, replaced appliances, etc. that were more easily managed because of his hard work.
- I started a new hobby business that has been fun. I told myself I would never get back into anything related to direct sales but Lilla Rose is fun and is helping me be more creative.
- Started actually putting real words down on my book. I had intended to have it ready for an editor by now, but the fact that I’ve outlined it and started writing despite everything that was going on is an accomplishment. And the pandemic will provide more material to write about, so…win!
- Refined my goals on disability advocacy. I’ve decided my role is to educate and advocate but meeting with small business owners and going after government officials to make changes is not in my wheelhouse. This will allow me to focus my verbiage and efforts to encourage others to take the next step.
- Many of the changes due to COVID proved that many things people with disabilities need are not as hard as once said. I hope and choose to believe that this will help with future advocacy efforts.
- Found a new doctor to help manage certain aspects of my healthcare.
- Enjoyed judging at Odyssey of the Mind. Just a week or two later, the world shut down, so I was excited that I still got to participate in this awesome competition.
- Helped do the first virtual GiveCamp NWA, which opened the doors for many other opportunities with the organization.
- Helped with a fundraiser that ended up setting records despite all the challenges related to the pandemic.
- Continued meeting with my Step Study group via zoom and then continued the lessons to graduate in December. Maintaining this relationship protected my spirit and was a source of encouragement throughout the year.
- Refinanced our home to have a better financial situation and a MUCH better mortgage provider.
- Switched insurance to save money and better customer service.
- Discovered the reason I’ve had so many problems with one of my eyes and got a fix that was simple and not expensive.
- Won 1st place in a state writing competition and second in nationals. First time I’ve ever had the bravery to admit my work was good enough to enter into a competition.
- Had the opportunity to write for a wider variety of clients and topics. One of the things I enjoy most about my work is the ability to write about a lot of different subjects and make a difference for a broader group of readers. Many writers in my field niche down but I prefer the opposite. No two of my clients are in the same industry.
- We took two trips to Tulsa and two trips to Wichita (one was for a family funeral, but that person had a long life and is finally at rest after being sick a while). Being able to travel safely was a reprieve.
- Led my first fully online workshop. I’ve always preferred to teach in person but realized I can reach a greater audience by leading workshops online.
- Only two pets needed surgery. Note the word “only.” Although January did hit us hard in the pet department, only the dogs required surgery in 2020.
- Learned to set better boundaries and recognize toxicity better. Yep, I’m keeping this vague. But realizing what is harmful and being willing to remove that from your life is an important part of healing.
- Learned more about self-defense and now own several forms of self-protection.
- Bought a new refrigerator and didn’t lose a ton of food when the other one died…also the first major appliance purchase with John. It was stressful because of the emergent nature, but still fun. And we love our new fridge!
- Enjoyed a women’s Bible Study on women of the Bible. I’ve not participated in a real Bible study in many, many years.
- Worked to help businesses in my community through the EABN, a networking organization that serves the Elkins area. It is the closest thing we have to a chamber of commerce.
I know none of this reframing takes away the pain of all the messed-up stuff from 2020 but it does give it a new, more complete perspective. What good things can you list from the year?