Another year has come and gone and 2020 is officially in the books. A year that challenged everyone to adapt to a new norm. The pandemic, social injustice, looting, political shortfalls, economic blunders, natural disasters and a whole lot more. It felt at times as if we were in some type of an extreme apocalyptic movie. Even though, I feel like Hollywood screen writers would have a hard time dreaming up the year of 2020. If it were a movie, it would probably be one of the longest air times that you could experience. Yet, when I look back at my year of 2020, I find several glimmers of hope shining through the darkness. As with any transformation as a society, we must first experience the pain of growth before we reap the benefits.
I remember back to a turning point that I had in my personal life and career. Living in Florida was only a figment of my imagination while was growing up in Michigan. Growing up with friends and family all around me, it was easy to have a security blanket when I found myself facing tough times. Emotionally and economically, there was always someone that I could turn to when I needed a lift. After graduating college I found myself looking down a spiral of challenging decisions that made me question the path I was on. A year later, I decided to take a leap. A leap that had me packing my car and heading down to Florida to pursue my own version of happiness. Finding a job in my career field was difficult so I turned to looking for anything. Retail was the first thing that came across in my job pursuit. Thinking it would be just a quick fix to get me on my feet while I looked for something in my field, it lasted a lot longer than I expected!
The time moved on and I started really involving myself in learning about retail. Often finding different questions to ask to better understand the world around me. I was out of my comfort zone and struggling a bit to find my path in life. As my curiosity grew, so did my growth within the company. Pushing my boundaries even more, I continued my growth to a new city. The challenge I faced was going completely out on my own. I had recently broken up with my partner, I was moving into a new apartment in a new city and a new job that I had no ties to anyone at. It was quite a bit to take on at the time. I broke down. I had times in the first couple of months where I questioned myself. I questioned if this was the right move. Would I be able to succeed where I was at? Would I mentally be able to push through this time and learn who I was and who I could become. I was in constant contact with family and friends, always asking for reassurance that I made the right decision. I’m happy to say that I pushed through the pain and became stronger as a person. I never would have learned so much about who I was as an individual, if I didn’t have those long nights of pondering my role and how I could grow.
As the years moved on, I’ve continued to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. Reading more and more, watching others that inspire me to become better. Asking questions to everyone and anyone around me that I felt could help make me better. My next move was from Florida to California. It made it even harder with nobody around me that I knew. I knew what I was getting into though. I knew I would probably have additional breakdowns along the way. I did. I moved from city to city and had several different roles within my company, learning about new cities and new surroundings every step of the way. I went on dates, tried new things, joined different groups of people for new experiences. I pushed my comfort box to its maximum threshold, becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable.
What did I learn through it all? I learned more about myself through challenges than I ever would have if I stayed comfortable. I learned who I wanted in a partner and met my fiancé in one of my many cities I lived in. I learned who I wanted to be in my professional life, along with how I wanted to help others grow to be their best selves. I also set myself up for a better future and got an opportunity to finally live out my dreams of traveling the world. All of this made possible by taking leaps and getting an understanding of who I was as a person.
Fast forward to 2020. It’s the same scenario. It was a year about learning. This year was the perfect time to learn about who you are and what you want out of life. It was a struggle for everyone. Everyone has been effected by the pandemic. Whether it was the loss of a loved one or loss of a job, it still shakes your inner core. It requires you find new ways to adapt to your world. It’s more important to decide what you will take away from this experience. If you simply say that life sucked in 2020, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Take 2020 for what it can be, a learning experience. What new did you learn about yourself this year? How did you adapt to the situation? Are there things that you could do differently going forward to progress down a better path?
I learned several things while in 2020. I feel like I’ve strayed too far away from the reality of social injustice in our society. The fact that I’ve never fully been close to it (in my mind at least), often had me saying that if I wasn’t doing it myself, I wouldn’t effect the situation. Finding that I need to be a voice for my friends and co workers when I see the injustice is far beyond sitting there saying that I’m not the one doing it. We as a society grew quite a bit, and I think 2020 really shook us up and made us see ourselves for what we really are. A nation divided at the moment, but we can heal together if we all share our voice. Standing tall to help all around us and using our voice for others, when maybe they don’t have the opportunity.
I learned connection between people needs to be stronger than ever. I recently joined a friend on her podcast about the importance of connection at the moment. People from all over the globe that had some type of connection with each other, all on the same call. This would have been unheard of even 20 years ago. There is more technology around us than ever before. Some of us have gotten used to not seeing loved ones on a daily basis, so the only form of connection we normally use is video chat or over the phone. Now many families are having to start to adapt to this new normal. Whether a person in their family has extreme risk of vulnerability to this virus or the difficulties of travel at the moment, people are having to communicate differently with others. We should never let a day go by without a loved one knowing how you feel about them. I know I’ve learned this as the year went on.
2020 also brought me back to writing. I forgot how much I enjoyed writing before this year. Taking time away from a busy life and that go go go mentality. The lull that occurred in 2020 expanded my thoughts on life. It allowed me to generate my views in a deeper context and publish them on the web. I’d been traveling for several years now and would often have friends asking me about an itinerary for when they traveled. I would struggle to remember all that I had planned. Sending them a long descriptive email about my travel experience from memory. Often times forgetting how I felt at the time. There were also mounds of pictures sitting on my camera that were serving no purpose. I now had an outlet to allow everyone to see these pictures and the experience I had while taking them. I am thankful that I had this time to create a blog and I’ve enjoyed sharing my passion with everyone each day this year.
2021 is a new year, new you. A transformation from last year that will build you into a better you. Remember that if the caterpillar never took the time to stop its every day life and adapt, it would never transform to the magnificent form of a butterfly. Take a moment to rethink 2020 as a positive evolution that made you grow out of your cocoon. The pain and struggles will subside and you’ll be better for it. You make the decision on who you will be today. The future is bright for 2021. Don’t simply leave 2020 in the dust and create a New Years resolution that you do for three weeks and go back to your normal habits. 2021 is your transformation into a better you. Cheers to a new you for 2021.