2020 has been called a lot of things: crazy, strange, painful, lonely, intense, heartbreaking.
And no doubt, it has been a mixture of all those things and more. But life always is.
A quick glance in the rearview — to any year, any decade, any century — and we’ll see those same adjectives used, over and over again, to describe the messiness of the times.
If I had to choose a word though, to describe this year, I’d select: OPPORTUNE.
That’s not downplaying or ignoring the loss and difficulty. It’s trusting that those experiences came, at the exact right moment, to show us something invaluable that we desperately needed to see.
I remember after 9/11, hearing stories of parents who shared a little Fred Rogers wisdom with their children. While watching the evening news, they told them to “look for the helpers”.
I love that simple, little instruction because it highlights a beautiful truth: that in the midst of every horrific event, devastating tragedy or tough time there are always helpers.
There’s always an OPPORTUNITY to find something good…we just have to look for it!
The helper that 2020 handed me – and all of us really – was the opportunity to slow down and come to a complete stop.
Instead of zooming through the days with both feet on the gas, life pumped the breaks and switched the gears for me!
I was able to catch my breath and breathe…deeply.
With nowhere to go and space to be, I was able to reflect – really reflect – on all the things and relationships that matter most.
I had time to reevaluate my work, my passions and my purpose to better understand who I am, who I want to become, and how I can best serve.
I had time for puzzles, games and karaoke in the living room.
I cooked, baked and crafted cocktails. I rearranged furniture, had weekly Zoom dates with friends and went on long walks. I read books, binged series and took online courses.
I got creative with my days. A lot of us did. We had to. And we also had the chance to do the things that we always want to do, but usually don’t, because there’s “never enough”…time.
2020 was the opportune time. It was the helper.
It was the forced stop that gave me breathing room to take a step back and see that I’d been misusing my minutes and missing moments. In the slow, steady pace of the year, I was present — with the pain and the progress — and extremely grateful for the PAUSE.
“This year, like any, is a great year if but only we know what to do with it.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Maybe you searched for the silver lining this year. Maybe you found the good and the valuable in the chaos. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, it’s ok, because today is a new chance — the opportune time — to look again.
My hope, as we head into 2021, is that we do so with our eyes wide open – paying attention to the opportunities – in every situation, wanted or unwanted – to STOP and look for the “helpers”, to see the good and to make the most of the time that is given to us.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller
I know the holidays look different this year, but wherever you find yourself during this time, my deepest wish is that peace, happiness, good health and love surround you and yours.
With all my love, xo 💞
P.S. If you’re looking for an incredible read, by a guy who definitely knew what to do with his years; and who knew a whole lot about making every single moment THE opportune time to see the good and find the meaning, check out The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It’s a BOOK! A serious book. One that, within the first few pages, significantly changed the way I see everything!
If you read it (or if you already have), I’d love, love, love to hear your thoughts. Did it shift your perspective(s) in any way? Any goose-bump moments or one-liners from the book that inspired or challenged you to see things differently? Comment and tell me all about it!
P.P.S. If an 850 page book isn’t quite your jam, you can always reply with your favorite line from a different guy — one who definitely knew what to do with his sick days; and who posed the ultimate slow down and stop question, “When’s the last time you had a day off?” — Ferris Bueller
Maybe today is your day!