I had looked forward to the concept of the year 2020. I thought then it symbolized a perfect year for clear 20-20 vision. What exactly I expected to see now seems to escape me. Perhaps a chance to see new things, because we had trips planned. Perhaps a chance to focus my efforts on a variety of personal projects. Another year to watch my daughters grow and learn in their chosen activities?
And yet, the year 2020 arrived and swept all of that aside.
Instead of beginning the year with clarity, we felt confused, worried, and a sense of unreality sunk in. People were dying all over the world, and the virus seemed to creep closer and closer to us. We felt great love and concern for people and yet wanted no one to get within arm’s reach. Our leaders sniped at each other with comments we would not allow on a kindergarten playground. I actively worried about children in homes with not enough food or in homes of abuse and had dreams of how I could rescue them. No, the world was a blurry place, and I felt more and more like I was in the eye doctor’s chair taking my eye exam and knowing with gut-wrenching anxiety that it was a test I could never pass.
We began to make decisions. We delayed plans for trips. We withdrew into our homes and made alliances with those of similar mindsets. We chose to mask or not to mask. To visit a loved one, or just to call. Conferences were canceled, as were family reunions. Family members would go into hospitals for procedures and forced to wait in the parking lot, we waited for news when every fiber of our being said we should be inside at their bedside, ready to quiz the hospital staff for details.
It is the last day of 2020. In years past, I would spend this last day of the year thinking forward about New Year’s resolutions and setting challenges for myself. Yesterday, a radio DJ announced that they would play the ‘best songs from the worst year’. Instinctively, I wrinkled my nose at the word, best. What was best about anything in 2020? Grudgingly, I gave it some thought. This forced me to stop and think and apply the magnifying glass not only to the horrors of the world but also to the treasures.
Family and friends have always been important to me. But would I have talked to so many of them by phone if I hadn’t felt the need to reach out and check on them? To send notes and little treasure in the mail to those I miss? I know for certain with all of the running around to basketball and piano classes and book groups and writers groups and community events that I would not have spent as much time at board games, reading books together, and just sitting at leisure at the dinner table and talking, sharing stories, and making plans for “after” with my husband and daughters.
I would have assumed the girls were learning everything that they were supposed to in school, rather than working with them one on one, rebuilding on areas of weakness, and being in complete awe of their abilities and creativity.
I would not have spent the time on myself. Taking the long hikes over the mountains, both for the exercise, and wiping away the cobwebs of spending day after day in the same house with the same faces and then feeling the joy of Mother Nature as a breeze picks up and spatters my face with a light rain.
I would have allowed myself more days just to pick something up to eat on the go, rather than to pick new recipes out of the book and give it a try in the kitchen, loving that my husband will eat it, whether it turned out right or not. I would not have spent so much time with the written word, instead of feeling guilty for stealing another minute from family time.
Make no mistake, I am happy to see the backside of this year, these problems, and for certain this virus. But I also cannot leave this entire year behind. Perhaps my resolution is to take this new vision of the world, and like eye drops, apply it as needed when we get back to “normal.”