Hindsight is 20/20, right? Now that “THAT” year is over, I want to take a moment to reflect on the things I would love to leave behind *cough, cough, Covid, cough, cough* and the things that I do, in fact, wish to relive again, even if that list is shorter than the first. As a teacher-mom who made it through the trials of virtual school on both fronts, there is A LOT about 2020 that I would truly like to see disappear and never return. However, the year of the Great Toilet Paper Shortage also taught us in mega-roll form about life, love, and simplicity. It taught us how to cross things off our calendars *repeatedly* without crying, much. It taught us how to value leggings, hair ties, and hats. It taught us that the more you have to lose, the more you have to lose. Life in its simplest form surrounded by the people you love is the greatest gift to cherish and fight for daily. 

This year took a lot from a lot of people, and I pray truly and deeply for comfort over those of you who watched loved ones pass, visited loved ones through window panes, or zoomed loved ones on special occasions when all you wanted was to wrap them up in the biggest bear-hug possible. I pray for those of you who fought for and/or are still fighting to keep your small business alive and for those of you who learned how to do your job in a completely different way from your make-shift office in the back corner of your closet while trying to block out the arguments from your children’s realization that, in life, not everyone gets the same amount of tater tots on their plate. The struggle is real, guys. 

I also pray that 2020 showed you how to keep your tribe moving forward when all you wanted to do was sit around in your pajamas and eat all the ice cream from Spring Break to Christmas. With bad, comes good. With darkness, comes light. And with the end of December 31st, has FINALLY come 2021. Though much of the past year can be considered “one for the books,” there are a few things I discovered that I do actually WANT to continue this year.

Athleisure

Y’all, I’m not even kidding. I think my power word for this year is “Leisure.” We can get poetic here and link my word to finding joy in simple activities, leisurely walks, and family-fun camping trips (all which I am totally down for,) but in reality my word is because I would love to live out 98% of this year in leggings, joggers, sweatpants, and basically anything else with elastic! Comfort is my 2021 goal! Time to go shopping- online of course because, you know, “leisure.”

Flexibility

If you happen to know me, you probably also know my planner, who I just realized needs a name because she’s that important to me. If you’ve named your car, you get it. I. Love. To. Plan. 2020 brought me actual tears as I began to realize my planner became a set up for Irony herself. I was mocked enough for a lifetime, tucked my sweet planner away (in MARCH), and saddled up for what turned into a year-long roller coaster ride. I knew it was really bad when even the parks closed, and we had to cancel CAMPING TRIPS. I’m still not completely over that one and will never understand the why behind it, but such is life. I had a great lesson in flexibility this year, and it was one that I clearly needed. You can and should have hopes, dreams, and goals, but you just cannot truly plan out your life. It changes, it halts, it sends you into a whirlwind of emotions without even a warning, and the only way to even pretend to survive it is by your bootstraps of flexibility. No, you don’t like it, and you don’t have to, but now you know- you can handle anything 2021 throws your way!

Perspective

It is so easy to get lost in the day to day struggles and worries of life. We MUST learn how to stop and gain perspective. What does that worry mean in the grand scheme of your life? Are you nervous about something that you could get through even if it did happen to come true? Is your mind flooded with frustrations that are put to shame when you think about what your neighbor or friend is going through? I admittingly have a hard time talking about how fortunate our family was this past year. It is hard for me to take pride in our great moments simply because of how many people, people I actually know, suffered and lost so much in 2020. I am not implying that we shouldn’t celebrate our achievements and successes, but I am saying to keep your mind in check when you start to feel like everything around you is falling apart. Life is hard, and it will always be hard. Perspective keeps it from being even harder.

Appreciation

I’m not sure what your first big moment of appreciation was in 2020 but mine was face-to-face school! I am a teacher with three elementary-aged kiddos at home so when we got the news that we would not be finishing our school year in a building surrounded by our friends and colleagues, things got really real. Those were my first big calendar cross offs that hurt me to the core because events were cancelled and also my planner wasn’t pretty anymore, kidding. Not kidding. Virtual class meetings, online faculty meetings, and instruction via various digital learning platforms led to many, many tantrums- and not all by my children. As the year progressed, I began to appreciate more and more of the things around me- both big (health, relationships, and job security) and small (hand sanitizer, multi-ply toilet paper, and grocery pick-up- which could all arguably apply as “big” things.) I soaked in the many, many, MANY moments with my family while on lockdown. We got creative with crafts, foods, and beverages- both the kid-friendly and the mommy-only kind! We found out who the people were in our lives that we wanted to spend our time with {10 people max, of course,} and we appreciate them now more than ever. We were also able to grow a love and appreciation for things like the mute button on a Zoom meeting, a virtual meeting that allowed us to not wear real (or any) pants, the great outdoors when being inside started to feel slightly claustrophobic, and time. Time with our kids. Time to bring a new pet into our family. Time to catch up on our favorite TV shows without feeling guilty for just sitting around (since you know, that’s all there was to do anyway.) Time to deep clean the house, hahahaha- yeah, I still didn’t do that either. Time to declutter and donate. Time to reflect. And time to appreciate.

During a year that seemed to bring on all the bad- world-wide pandemic, wildfires, cancellation of sports and entertainment, shortages in cleaning supplies, and a divided-nation- it also showed us how to live. In order to make it through this life we must work together. We must have and show appreciation for the people and things around us that are really and truly good and important. We must have perspective when facing trials and tribulations in our lives and be flexible enough to not break. We must value the importance of athleisure and celebrate all that is amazing when you are able to wear comfortable clothes. And even if we did not particularly like 2020, we must appreciate it for the lessons it taught us so that we can have a clear vision for an amazing 2021! Wishing you all the BEST year ever, or at least better than the last one!

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