This blog post is part of a four-part series where our team shares how they’re finding gratitude in 2020. If you’d like to read parts one, two or three click the corresponding links.
The pages of my 2020 planner were all filled in until about mid-March; now those remaining are being used as scratch paper or a place to put my used gum if I’m not near a trash can. Yes, 2020 has been nothing more than used paper cluttered with pieces of grape Hubba Bubba and chicken scratch notes that say “buy toilet paper.” But – underneath all of it, you can still see a pink pretty planner page, filled with polka dots and vague inspirational quotes. Despite the year’s craziness, sadness and surrealness, we’ve all been able to find something behind the wads of gum – whether it was a new hobby, an old friend or a different perspective. So, I guess from now on, I’ll try to appreciate each page of my 2020 planner – and all the other yearly planners that follow – ink smears and all.
While this year has been an absolute whirlwind of emotions, it has grounded me in the fact that investing more time and attention into relationships is so invigorating and uplifting. It’s easy to give in to the fast-paced nature of life and let some relationships fall to the wayside, but 2020 has given me an opportunity to spend more meaningful time with those that I haven’t talked to in a while, even those that I talk to daily (even though most of it has been virtual). I’ve sent handwritten letters and talked on the phone with friends more in 2020 than I have in the past two years combined, and it has allowed me to rekindle bonds with friends from across the globe. Even though this year has been difficult in so many different ways, it has reminded me how sweet it is to catch up with those you love as often as possible.
This year wasn’t an easy one, but it taught me to never take my time for granted and to hold on to my favorite people as long as I can. Before 2020, I had never lost a close family member. But after losing my grandpa early in the year, I took every opportunity I had to step away, make the long drives and spend quality time with my family. I became more grateful for little things (like Facetime calls) and learned to be more present. I began appreciating the small family moments like sitting on the couch with my little sister, taking my dad to Central BBQ for the first time, driving seven hours just to surprise my grandma (her face was PRICELESS) and sitting on the lake in Virginia with my cousins and uncles as they yapped about the stock market. I won’t miss you 2020, but I’m glad you gave me the much-needed chance to slow down and appreciate all that I have.
My goal for 2020 was to start doing things that make me happy. I told myself, this is the year I take control of my life. I wanted to pull a Marie Kondo on my life and stop doing things that no longer bring me joy. I ended the longest relationship I’ve ever had, lived with my parents for a while and finally got my own place in Midtown living with my wrestler friends. While this year started out on a pretty positive note, the pandemic has definitely thrown a wrench in most of my creative outlets. With no more concerts, get-togethers with friends, etc., quarantine has forced me to take a long, hard look at myself and how I handle my mental health. As Hannah Cohen sings, “This is your life. Don’t let it just happen to you.” I’m thankful that I have a strong support system in place to be able to continue learning, growing and prospering.