2020 is a nightmare. 2020 is a bad year. 2020 is a mess. 2020 is a disaster. 2020 is a crazy year. 2020 is a dumpster fire. 2020 is canceled. These were the search results that came up a few months ago when I searched for “2020 is…”
My most recent “2020 is…” search gets us all into the Halloween spirit—a T-Shirt that shows a ghost in various poses framed by the phrase “2020 is BOO sheet.” (I fully acknowledge that this is both clever and funny.)
The 2020 tarring and feathering continues with the countless memes being applauded and shared on social media, all spreading the same dark humor. I’m not immune to the allure of these memes. I’ve shared some, I’ve liked some, I’ve chuckled over most of them.
Everyone is labeling 2020 to try and understand the pain and confusion they have felt. Labels make something identifiable, organized…able to be compartmentalized. Humor is one of our favorite defense mechanisms, so it works especially well as we smile and slap a label on 2020.
Through the sarcastic window, people sit, work, sleep, eat, love, cry, etc. inside their homes just praying for 2020 to be fucking over. Some got an early start and wrote off the year in the summer. Others are doing it now in October, thinking there’s light at the end of the tunnel…2021.
I have to wonder about 2021 being that light at the end of the tunnel. How do we know that unwrapping the plastic and hanging a fresh new calendar on the wall is the answer? I certainly don’t know.
Whenever I feel negative, like I’ve been wronged somehow, I like to look at what I’ve learned during that time. This always helps me turn what I thought was a loss into something I’ve gained.
What have you gained this year?
- More time with someone or something you love?
- A greater understanding of yourself and the world?
- An appreciation for life and everything in it?
I remember when the lockdown first started in Portland back in March. I went for a walk to my favorite nearby park to take in some trees. I was in the midst of several big projects while selling and packing my shit to move across the country to Milwaukee. Being productive during this unsettling time was damn-near impossible—I took regular walks, rain or shine, to clear my head.
What I noticed on those neighborhood walks was something I will never forget…parents outside with their kids. It took me several walks to figure out why this quite ordinary human observation was so startling.
I realized it was because I wasn’t used to seeing a dad smiling with his daughter on her tricycle at 11:30am on a Wednesday. Because he would have been at the office, just like my dad was when I was a kid.
I went to morning and afternoon daycare and summer camps. Quality time with my dad happened during the ride to and from school and the occasional dance class. I often prayed for traffic, so we could be stuck in the car together longer. I pretended to be sick to miss my dance class (something I loved more than anything) so me and dad could grab dinner and watch a movie instead.
I loved my dad and always wanted to hang out more. I look back and I know why I felt like we never spent enough time together…because we didn’t and couldn’t.
2020 is not canceled. There are still a few months left this year. 2020 is still salvageable—there is much to learn from our experiences and much to gain from our losses.
The latest episode of Love Your Enthusiasm with self-discovery and empowerment coach, Aura Martinez, is like a 2020 wellbeing toolkit.
2020 has led many of us—perhaps reluctantly—to walk a path of self-discovery. Aura will help you not just power through the rest of the year, but really sit with it, embrace it, and learn from it…listen now.