The gifts and lessons of a trying year
As we usher in 2021, members of the WEconnect team share some of their hard-earned wisdom from 2020.
2020 has given me such an incredible gift: the ability to recognize and truly believe that I am a hell of a lot stronger than I ever knew was possible. Even in the darkest of moments, there is light all around; I just had to be willing to search a little harder to find it.
This year has been a rollercoaster for sure! We’ve experienced a pandemic, an election, and a social justice revolution. While I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives and the collective grief we are all experiencing, I remain hopeful for the future and have found gratitude at the deepest level of my being. Being resilient has come in handy this year! Onward and upward.
2020 gave me the gift of a wonderful place to work, great people to work with, and the ability to work from home at this time in my life! Most of 2020 has not been good for many, but I am a believer that there is always a blessing to be found. My blessing has been complete remission from breast cancer!
This tumultuous year has reminded me of the power of hope and perspective. While it is always easier to look back and see how difficulties opened new doors which led to the present, the hope that change would occur during those uncertain times is often the energy behind taking each step of the journey. Remembering those difficult times only brings excitement for the days ahead in the new year.
2020 has taught me that cultivating more patience leads to greater successes and impact.
This year has reminded me that I am resilient. On top of being isolated from the ones I love, I lost my soul kitty this year and felt an overwhelming sense of grief and pain. But I was able to reach out to my safe supports and ask for help during such a dark time. The greatest gift of 2020 was adopting two kitties and a puppy. They have taught me so much about myself and they have gotten me through the difficult times of feeling isolated. This year, I have also increased my support group. I live in a rural area where All Recovery Meetings and LGBTQ+ meetings do not exist. Through virtual meetings, I was able to find a community that I feel a part of. Even if it is virtual, I know that every person in there cares and supports me.
2020 taught me the value of stability, and to be grateful for the many blessings in my life. They are hard-won, unique, and precious—and all too fragile to take for granted. With that lesson came a powerful gift: the practice of manifesting gratitude. This is what I will bring with me into 2021 and beyond.
2020 has taught me that in a matter of one moment, the entire world can change. I have learned to slow down and reevaluate my priorities in life. I’ve learned that we cannot always count on tomorrow, and we should never assume that we will have more time with the ones that we love. 2020 has also taught me it’s essential to take care of your own mental health. This has to become a bigger priority, and not something that we just push aside or try to hide. When the world around us slows down, all those thoughts and emotions we try to avoid come crashing down on us. You have to take care of yourself first so that you can be strong enough to take care of and be present for the people you love.
The greatest gift this year has given me is time and space for expansion: The WEconnect organization has doubled in size to help more members, we have partnered with some of the largest healthcare organizations in the country, and I got into DJing and music production as a form of expression and therapy.
This year has clarified my power and responsibilities as a person in recovery, as an ally to threatened groups and neighbors, and as a father to young children. I look ahead at 2021 determined to take care of myself and those I love—whether I know them or not.