I somehow feel simultaneous like I have lived a thousand years in 2020; and at the same time, I regularly find myself surprised that we are somehow not still in March.
I don’t need to tell you this has been… an unusual year. So much has transpired in the world, and yet my personal life has been at a standstill. In the month that is usually about reflection and thanksgiving, looking back on this year leaves me feeling, quite frankly, a bit beaten down.
However, it would be a disservice to me to pretend nothing has come of this year ~ if nothing else, we’ve learned about our own resilience in the face of crises. So, if you’re like me and you find yourself struggling to pick out the bright spots of the year, try to reframe your mode of reference for success.
The Little Wins Should Be Celebrated:
If you have previously had a high standard for what constitutes an accomplishment, maybe you didn’t have many big celebrations this year (or maybe you did ~ good for you!).
If you’re looking back and thinking, “I’ve lost so much momentum from where I was last year”… you’re not being very fair to yourself! Even if you didn’t hit that Big Thing you were hoping for ~ you did plenty that deserves a little fanfare!
Maybe you started running. Maybe you tackled a new recipe and nailed it. Maybe you redecorated your workspace. Maybe you didn’t get around to any of that ~ but you know what, you kept going when things got hard! And that’s really awesome!
What Will You Be Taking With You?
...and, just as importantly, what will you be leaving behind from this year?
For me, I can tell you now, I plan to continue my daily (okay... bi-weekly) meditation. I started because I was feeling quite stressed by the world around me, and I needed a nice way to work through it without being able to go out for drinks with my friends as usual. While I look forward to, hopefully, doing that again one day, the meditation has really helped me! It was a habit borne out of necessity; but I genuinely enjoy it, and it will be a part of my routine for ages to come.
On the other hand, there are things from this year that I want to leave behind. Look, everyone has bad habits, and generally they’re okay. But during this time of reflection, we’re supposed to recognize what’s good for us, what’s just okay, and what’s really not that good. Now and then, we all like checking up on our middle school crush on Facebook ~ I won’t tell if you don’t ~ but is falling down the social media rabbit hole every night ~ just because you’re bored ~ really healthy?
Sometimes, we focus too much on one side or the other ~ it is either the hyperfixation on all the good things we want to continue ~ or dwelling on all the things we need to change (but feel like maybe we can’t). Remember that this year, like every year, gives you both. There is always good and bad, and there always will be. Take what you want and leave what you can’t bring with you.
Recognize How Much You’ve Grown:
Let’s just put it out there... it’s been a tough year! If not you yourself, I bet you know someone who has fallen on hard times this year. It’s hard to imagine being untouched by the tragedies that befell us this year.
Take time and sit with that. It was hard this year. Whatever that means for you.
But you’re still here. You’re tough! I bet you’re a lot tougher than you knew you were. Recognize that. And be proud of yourself for getting through it!
This year was about you. If nothing else, I bet you know yourself a lot better than you did before. Isn’t that a great feeling?
What Made You Smile This Year?
When you’re looking back on what truly seems to be a mess of a year - remember those little moments that really made you feel that smile deep inside. That’s what it’s all about.
When we talk about success, sometimes it gets to be so materialistic. That’s a tough frame of reference to live in, no matter what is going on in the world; and that’s especially tough this year. Of course, it matters; but what matters more is what brings you joy,in your own life.
What made you smile this year? If it was your new friendship with your neighbors, that’s awesome! If it’s your new focus on self-care or your commitment to making special time for yourself, great! If it was your job, you nailed it! And if it’s a combination of those… well, you really have had a meaningful year, haven’t you?
When you’re looking back on what truly seems to be a mess of a year - remember those little moments that really made you feel that smile deep inside. That’s what it’s all about!
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Written by Jordan McAndrew