Survived. Thrived.

So long, 2020. Buh-bye. Ciao. Hosta la vista, baby. But before you go, one last thing (I always like to get the last word): thank you, 2020, for lessons that I didn’t know I needed and the wake-up call that has forever changed my perspective on who and what matters.

You kicked me around, but you didn’t knock me down. Quite the opposite. I found a resilience I’d forgotten I had; I won’t forget again. I’m grateful for that. I truly am. Now get lost. Get gone. Don’t call me. Ever.

This New Year’s Eve, I will not only celebrate that I survived 2020, but that I thrived despite it. I never would have used the term “grit” in my list of personal attributes, but if the grit fits, I’ll own it. I am not even embarrassed to be boastful about it. I dug in and pushed through anxiety like a fighter. It can be done.

If you would have told me when my children were born that one day I’d be sending my son off to college far from home during a global pandemic, I’d have laughed. No way. Or that my daughter would work in long-term care, undergoing uncomfortable weekly COVID-19 tests, I would have insisted she wouldn’t be able to do this type of work. I will never forget the courage, kindness and resilience of my grown-up children this year. It was a powerful reminder not to let my fears clip their wings.

Then there is the stress a lockdown brings to a marriage. I relearned the importance of personal space. I will not forget the lay-offs and the fear of how we’d pay the bills, nor the strength of my spouse, who shoulders much of the burden to keep his family afloat. His commute alone is brutal. But we were resourceful. We lived lean. We cut costs. We hunkered down and held on. We didn’t give in to fear. I can honestly say there is no one I’d rather be in lockdown with than my Carpenter, even during a football game.

I looked for the good in humanity whenever I lost faith in that barking mob mentality (which happened more than I care to admit) – and I found it. I saw great kindness. Neighbours checked on one another, and cheered for the frontline people who care for us, realizing they’ve been our lifesavers all along. We didn’t just shop and eat local, we recognized the haven of our hometowns. We appreciated everything more. Kindness is contagious.

We saw change; sweeping, monumental change on a global scale. A long time coming. We saw tragedy. We saw ignorance. We witnessed hate. We looked over the fence and were grateful to be Canadian, only to be reminded we have some deep-rooted historic challenges we’ve yet to overcome. We may not be perfect, but I’m grateful to be Canadian. Full stop.

I know we aren’t yet through the worst of this pandemic. I am as weary as you are. I’m tired of hearing about it. I’m tired of living in a bubble, too. But I’m not losing faith. Better days ahead.

When you raise your glass this New Year’s Eve, I hope you will reflect on the moments you rose to the challenge, learned the lessons you needed to learn and surpassed challenges you couldn’t have anticipated. Celebrate those. Honour 2020 as the year you survived and thrived.

Moving on.

WriteOut of Her Mind