I’ve been trying to think of some profound statement on which to end 2020, but all I have is this: We are still standing.
(Well, sort of. Between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. we are destroying, creating and just trying to keep each other from getting hurt, but at 8:02 p.m. we are looking for somewhere to collapse.)
Even before the pandemic reached the U.S., this year was destined to be a little challenging for my family. Adding a third baby to the mix brought new-life wonder, no sleep and postpartum depression. At the beginning of 2020, Ellie couldn’t talk, walk or eat by mouth. Jack was only 3 years old. Scooter was a lot more patient and less delicate. With Ben’s relatively new business and my freelance gigs, we were already wondering how we were going to do it all.
In March, everything that we already had on top of us was amplified when Honaker Law moved into the dining room, and we all stayed home to protect Ellie’s heart and lungs from the novel coronavirus. By the end of the summer, we, like all other parents across the world, had more information and were making decisions about what to do next – decisions we still question every day.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling the looming pressure of a New Year’s resolution and just haven’t been able to get myself excited about anything. I am Type A and need some sort of goal to drive myself – and everyone else around me – towards. Not having one feels like not knowing what to do with my hands; I am walking around without a North Star to beat myself up over.
While I would like to lose the baby weight, find more time to meditate, figure out how to get my kids to eat vegetables, rid my life of clutter or teach the kids Spanish, I know that those are not realistic goals.
Survival is realistic. Keeping everyone alive — an enormous, often taken for granted achievement — is a good goal for me. Though it feels a little no-frills, basic, bare minimum, it’s just all I can commit to right now.
The biggest breakthroughs for me this year were in social science. 2020 has been an immersion course in how we react to stress and fear, the transfer of information and exchange of knowledge, compassion and bygone norms that once seemed central to a society’s function. I truly cannot wait to read what researchers write about us in the future.
If understanding that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves, I could certainly spend some time writing some resolutions about how to be better. But, after this year, that just seems like taking the easy way out. Statistics on kept resolutions are all over the place, but for the most part, the very vast majority of them are abandoned throughout the year. Learning from your mistakes isn’t a resolution one can just drop when tired.
2020’s Lesson: Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
2021’s Outlook: Basic, no-frills and bare minimum.
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