Freakin’ 2020, am I right? Huh? This guy knows what I’m talking about over here. Yeah. You, sir – reading this on the phone in your lap during a Google Meet. What a year, huh?
It’s the first year to ever be a punchline. We can look back on the last twelve months with thoughts of dumpster fires and toilet paper. It all was a universal mess. Everything we loved outside the house was taken away. Movies, restaurants, and arena-events were all gone. All the fun vanished. Then, it was the boring too. School, work, and face-to-face meetings evaporated too. It was as if everything we have ever loved, hated, or known was taken away. Life: The Video Game had crashed and we were reinstalling it. It takes a while to load. All we had left to do in the meantime is eat and watch Netflix.
We had people arguing, political insanity, and that annoyed sense of self that comes with being two feet from the entrance to the supermarket before looking at someone walking out and realizing…“I forgot to get my mask from the car!” That long journey back to the glove compartment has become the new “walk of shame”.
I had that year too. It was all those things and more. I suddenly had to know math for my twelve-year-old. I had to convince my non-verbal nine-year-old to zoom the iPad for some boring educational stuff rather than stimming on YouTube kids. I had to convince myself to make money when the news kept telling me that it was all futile. I had the same year a lot of you did.
On a personal level, some could say I had a bad year, if I were to put it on paper, too. My life is currently at this influx crossroads that I have had to dance around for a long time with here. While the tango still continues, it’s playing its final notes. Growth, progression, and self-actualization all have come together to make December 31, 2020 a very different night than the 2019 version.
That statement speaks on a number of levels. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been incredibly hard. When you’re in your forties and still coming to epiphanies and charting new courses, changing the rudder on the ship can be pretty difficult. This year had been that type of difficult. I have had some pretty rough patches here and there and the lows were low. The lows, however, have started to become further back in the rear view mirror.
This has been a year of finding pride in what I do and who I am. I wrote The Expectant Father’s Activity Book. The project came to me as a surprise, starting on the first day of lockdown and lasting for under two months. It got intense at times, but I pressed on with a format that I was excited to do, but unsure if I really could. It involved writing and activity creation, all wrapped up with information about pregnancy and newborns. At the time, it was a new direction and I worried that doing it well would just be an exercise in raw insanity.
When I finished that book, I was very happy with the job I had done. I closed the file on my computer and sat back with far less nervousness or expectations that I ever had before in this situation. It was the first book I had written in my post-quintuple bypass era and while I wanted it to do well, I honestly didn’t really care as much as I once did. That’s because it made me feel good to simply write it and I liked the job I did. That was what’s important. That’s always been what’s important. I just sort of “get it” now.
I learned this year to take pride in who I am and what I have done. Like so many people out there, I spent most of my life focusing on everything I wasn’t and all I didn’t do. No matter what I did, it would never been good enough in my mind as I took my seat at the back of the table. I was always lamenting an achievement or greeting every victory by nervous apprehension that looked for the other shoe of doom to drop. I was the perpetual Miss Universe waiting for Steve Harvey to inform me that he read the wrong name.
I didn’t do that this year. I didn’t do it professionally or personally; for anything or anyone. I did this year for me because I know that the more I bet on myself, the more apt I will be to get things done. I want to reach certain goals because I know I can do them. I don’t do it to show anyone up or even make anyone proud. I just do them because I want to and I’m here. What else am I gonna do?
2020 may have been a dumpster fire, but it allowed me to burn away a lot of past thought patterns that have really kept me from being happy. They kept me from reaching successes when I could have and from enjoying those successes when they came along. I guess you could say that was my motto this year – to be the best I can be and to be proud of myself when I am.
Oh, and not to get coronavirus. That was the other one. Freakin’ 2020.