“The pandemic has been such an awful time for so many people around the world, but it has also been a reminder for us about the things that really matter – the people in our lives and the love we have for them.” ~ Ananya Birla
I feel like this title is very Gilmore Girls which is one of my favorite shows and also one that I rewatched amongst MANY this year. It is crazy to think it has been one year. One YEAR! One year since yesterday that The WHO declared a pandemic. One year today that Broadway shut down. One year since ALL of our lives drastically changed. I know many people were throwing around the meme that we are in the same storm, but in different boats, and while that is true to a certain extent, the fact remains we were and are ALL affected by what has occurred this last year. Our lives and life as we know it has been irrevocably changed in ways that NONE of us could have fathomed.
But is that a bad thing?
Before y’all pile on me, I am not at all negating the many shoddy things that have occurred over the last year. Nor am I pooh pahing over the tragic loss of life, livelihood, dreams, (my own included) and all the many horrible things that have happened. It has sucked. All of it.
Lessons in the suckery
But in the suckery has also come lessons. With all the doors being shut, others have opened. With in the difficulties we had to find strength. I have talked before about dualities, how we NEED the good and the bad. We do. Like it or not, (and I don’t like it) we DO. We need the contradiction of negatives and positives in our life because that is how we learn to appreciate the good, to savor the joy, and hold on to it even more tightly then before.
Life is a rollercoaster and you have to learn how to ride it. How to brace yourself for those drops, and find the peace and joy in the lulls. This year has taught us that. It taught us to slow down. To breathe. To savor. Instead of going going going, it has taught us to sit down and face our shit, instead of avoiding it. But also to admire all the work we have done, and most importantly to be present in the here and now.
Truthfully, my world had and has been rocked long before the pandemic was declared. I have had a LOT of personal stuff happen in the last eighteen months, most of it had NOTHING to do with the pandemic ironically, except that because of the pandemic, I didn’t move and ended up staying and quarantining with my family. While at the time it sucked, it has turned out to be the biggest blessing, because I was here for them. This year has been one heck of a cluster, but it has also taught me SO much, lessons I thought I already knew, but apparently needed a refresher on, as well as making me so flipping grateful for the moments of joy irregardless of how big or small throughout my day.
Facing our humanness
It is so easy to only focus on the negative. It is hard to find the positive. To let go of our traumas we wear like badges of honor and face our shit, and conquer it. Healing is scary, almost more so then the initial wounds inflicted. Because by facing it, we are facing our own humanness, which quite frankly isn’t always perfect. This pandemic made us own up to that. It took us out of our comfort zones. The perfect little narratives we have been telling ourselves. Shook it up, and made us reassess. It made us reflect, and analyze, and ultimately it forced us to be present. Which honestly, can be quite frickin scary, because it means we are actually living.
Shocking I know. The world stops. We pause. But we are actually living. Because we aren’t in the future, or the past, but the here and now. And we have had to face our shit. No longer can we hide or avoid our fears by the hecticness of life, but we are forced to reassess and reflect, on what life is and is it fulfilling you in the way you need. Amongst all the social distancing and quarantining, we have actually been forced to reconnect, not only with each other, but ourselves.
For sanity, or clarity, some of us focused on health and wellness, going on hikes, or taking up online fitness classes. Hobbies that we were to busy for, or would only do if we made money from them, we decided to pick up and do for fun. We connected, REALLY connected with friends and family, having family game nights, and book clubs and Zoom movie parties. We learned a new language, or talent, became our own mixologists (okay maybe that isn’t a good thing for our livers) and chefs. We embraced being present in the moment, in a way that we hadn’t been able too in a very long time because society is so insanely fast paced.
Strife gives us strength
Despite all the stresses and craziness we have adapted, we were and are resilient. Strife teaches us how strong we are and that was what this past year was all about. It wasn’t easy, because change is never easy. Change comes with being uncomfortable. It comes with grief. It comes with uncertainty. But THAT is what makes us strong. THAT is what makes us resilient. And friends we are. We made it through! And we are stronger for it. And maybe a little more comfortable spouting out French or taking our Tik-Tok dances (I wonder if I can put that on a resumer, J/K I am NOT on Tik-Tok) to the club floors when they open up, or cooking a gourmet meal when we can finally get together again. Or maybe we are okay just being. Meditating. Sitting in nature. Learning to pause.
I know I am. I spent more time with my family then I had in the last ten years. I got to connect with my nephews and niece and learn I am NOT a teacher. I got to channel my creativity, and focus on really creating my brand instead of other peoples, developing and becoming confidant with pictures, graphics and videos as I learned new tools. I reconnected with nature in ways that I hadn’t since I was a child. I learned that my coffee addiction wasn’t special to just coffee shops, but that I could become my own barista. (it still tastes better when others make it though) I learned to pause and be okay with just being. I reconnected with my yoga and meditation practices, which had been lost when I left New York, and really REALLY connect with myself.
Much of what I have learned I am still processing as I think we all are. It truly has been a crazy year. We have all been affected, not a single one of us, has not been, but it is up to us to define what lessons we take from it. This year was hard, it still is, but I have (re-)learned to take each win as a positive. To appreciate the moments and know I am a badass warrior. We all are. Change is hard. Change is grief. Change makes us better humans. This was the year of change. This was the year of pause. And now we reboot, Because we are stronger and better. We got this. Sending you all so much love.
How are you doing? What has this past year taught you?