“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future” -John F. Kennedy
I remember ringing in the new year full of hope.“It was going to be a great year”, I thought. After all, Halloween was going to fall on a Saturday. New Years and Christmas both were going to be on Fridays. July fourth was on a Saturday, and Cinco de Mayo was on “Taco Tuesday”! Jackpot! We had just finished completing all the vigorous requirements needed to send my daughter off to an experience of a life time – studying abroad in Florence, Italy. We had also just loaded the last box into the moving truck for my mother. She just sold her house and was ready to start her new life with a move to Florida to be with her new-found love. We had purchased airline tickets to visit both my mother and daughter to witness their new adventures. We had a group trip, that included twenty-five people, planned to go to Australia and New Zealand. I was the organizer of this “trip of a lifetime”. What could possibly go wrong?
I don’t have to tell you the disappointing story. You all know it and have lived it yourselves. What I do want to tell you is that, although none of what I was looking forward to actually played out the way I had hoped, it was not a lost year. There were still healthy babies being born into loving families, there were still seniors getting their diplomas, there were still people marrying their soul mates, and there was more time spent at home with loved ones than any other year that I can remember. Yes, it was undoubtedly a year of profound loss, hardship, and anxiety as well.
The year 2020 was a year of extraordinary changes. Living though this time in history will change all of us. What we value and appreciate has shifted. Our daily habits and routines have been altered. The way we think about our future is now different. We have all been forced to grow a little and find inner strength as we were given front row seats to just how quickly our lives can change without our consent. It’s life’s way of giving us a little tough love.
We have all been embracing change since a young age as we navigate through the stages of lifespan development. The concept of change can be unsettling. As Benjamin Disraeli says ““Change is inevitable; change is constant”. We have no choice or opinion in this aspect of life. We must embrace it. Those who are able to seek out change and actively embrace it will thrive. Surely, nobody sought out the kind of changes that the year 2020 has brought into our lives but we can all embrace these changes and thrive.
I challenge you to notice the ways this year has changed your life. Take a moment and feel those feelings. Don’t dwell in them, but feel them. Acknowledge these changes. Ask yourself what you have control over in your life. Check in with your sense of empowerment. Separate yourself from the negative thoughts and remember that your life is not defined by one year. Look ahead at your future and focus on resilience.
No one knows for sure if COVID-19 will become endemic, but we can be certain that experts will continue to fight until they develop the tools needed to gain control and lessen the threat of the virus that has changed all of our lives. Life will get back to normal. We will still have promising futures ahead of us. We are destined to enjoy this precious life we have been blessed with.