My usual New Year’s post would include a list of all that has happened in the year before, both the good and the bad. But I’m thinking that no one wants to read a list of all that went wrong in 2020, because let’s face it: living through 2020 has been depressing enough and there’s no need to dwell on it. And while the silver linings of this past year were rare, they were also very real, and I’d much prefer to talk about those.
Hard times teach us so much about ourselves and the society in which we live. And while I saw far too many people (including politicians in both political parties) using this pandemic as an excuse to advance their own agendas, I also saw so many people go out of their way to help others in need. I was in awe of the many ways people found to reach out to others in a time of unprecedented restrictions on human interaction, and know that personally, I am so very grateful for all those who took the time to show they cared just when I needed their support the most. If nothing else, 2020 taught us that the human spirit is far stronger than any virus, and that nothing can stifle love, kindness, and compassion.
As much as I hate all the devastation that this pandemic has wrought, I have to admit that it has taught me some valuable lessons. There was a time when I seriously believed I was too old to take care of a young child anymore, and even struggled with understanding my role as a grandparent. But then my grandson’s daycare closed for eleven weeks and I nervously stepped to the plate to offer my services as primary care-giver. And it was wonderful! I was more tired than I had been in years, but I also became much closer to my grandson than I ever would have been under normal circumstances.
Not being able to eat out as much as we had before reminded me that I like to cook, and that some meals really do taste best when they come out of my own kitchen. The effort that it takes to be able to see loved ones forced me to realize that close relationships really are worth the effort, and should never be taken for granted. Even the empty grocery shelves that I found so troubling early in this pandemic had a lesson to offer, as I will never again just assume that I will be able to buy what I need, exactly when I need it. Sometimes we don’t recognize all the gifts in our lives until they are taken away, even temporarily.
While I would have preferred that 2020 had gone differently, for me and for everyone else in the world, it wasn’t entirely a wash-out of a year, and not just because this was the year I gained a precious granddaughter. I learned a lot in the past twelve months, and I truly believe that some of those lessons will help me be a better person in the years to come. I’ve learned to have more faith in myself and in the people around me, to remember that the best way to deal with adversity is with compassion and patience, and most of all, to never lose hope for a better future. Happy New Year, everyone!