Saying goodbye to 2020…

The one word that comes to mind when we think of 2020 is ‘collective’. Why, you may ask? Because as we lived, and continue to live, through this pandemic it has joined us in ways we never thought possible before. For the first time, we are feeling collective grief for all that we have lost. As individuals, as families, as communities, and as humanity. We are feeling collective joy at our triumphs – for big things like the arrival of the vaccine and seemingly small things like the smile on our child’s face as they engage with their classmates during their online class. We are living, breathing, struggling, exceling, achieving, celebrating…together. This global experience has shone a bright light on the beauty of human resilience. The humble way in which the entire world faced this microscopic virus – changed their ways, quietly bowed down and retreated indoors, and found ways to cope. That too, collectively.

As every human being is unique in their own special ways, so are our coping mechanisms and strategies. And this year, we have all had to learn to cope with so very much related to this pandemic – incredible changes, dealing with illness and death, fear, stress, lack of vision or purpose, loneliness, depression. The list goes on and on. Personally, I felt like I was even coping with the guilt of feeling happiness or enjoying something when there were so many people around me in difficult situations. I struggled, I will not deny that. I felt like I was drowning at times and was pushing myself to get through the day.

It took me time to learn and allow myself to search for and focus on the silver lining. The small glimmer of hope. The positive outcomes this pandemic brought with it. The goodness that is left in this world. The countless blessings I have. Once I was able to push past the gloom and find that sliver of light, I started to feel better. More like myself again. This became my coping mechanism. To always look for some good in every situation, no matter how bad. A few things which I feel helped me on this journey were:

1.) Spending time outdoors. One thing this pandemic really brought out in me was my love for being outdoors. Without fail, no matter how tired or otherwise occupied, I would make sure to spend an hour or two with my kids outdoors. The fresh air, the expansive sky above, the green grass below – it had a definite calming effect no matter how stressed out I was. It also brought in the much needed exercise, which is vital to keep energy levels up.

2.) Staying connected with loved ones. I didn’t allow distance and the lack of physical meet-ups deter me from staying in touch with my family and friends in every way possible. Human connection, in any form, is necessary to maintain a healthy state of mind. Seeing friendly faces of loved ones over video call, hearing my friends recall their kids crazy antics, reminiscing over fond memories with my sisters – it all helped to enhance my feelings of gratitude.

3.) Reigniting my passion for reading. I used to devour books as a kid and teenager. I would finish novels in days and already have the next one waiting for me. Sadly, as life got busier and kids came into the picture, my hobby of reading died down so much so that for months on end I wouldn’t pick up a book. During lockdown, I started reading again and realized just how much I missed getting lost in plots and characters and beautiful stories.

4.) Observing my kids. I honestly learned so much 7-year old and 5-year old during this pandemic. I would observe the way they would make the best out of every situation, still find joy in the little things, and not complain about the way things have changed. They found new hobbies, new interests, and managed to keep themselves busy amidst the lockdown. Their resilience gave me strength and helped me see things from a different perspective.

5.) Faith. I strongly, strongly relied on my faith during this time. I focused on all the blessings that I had, rather than the loss. I knew whatever was coming our way was from God and everything was in His Hands, if He sent this pandemic to the world it was for a reason and it was our job to learn from it. Trying to control a situation that was not in my control was useless, so I stopped wasting my energy on that.

Everyone has their own unique story to share of their experience with this pandemic and how they coped. I would love to hear some of yours. On this note, on the very last day of this unforgettable year, let’s bring back that word I mentioned earlier. Collective. Let’s collectively pray, hope, wish, send positive vibes out for 2021 to be a year of triumphs. A year of growth. A year of embracing change, and one another again. A year when we can start fresh, with renewed purpose and drive. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year with the best of health and spirits!