Hindsight is 2020

January 2021 | by anna rogers

You may be ready to say good riddance to 2020, but before we file it away, it will do our hearts some good to reflect on the benefits from the year no one anticipated. With each tough moment, 2020 also ushered in changes for the better, along with a renewed appreciation for the things that have always been – the things we’d begun to expect and take for granted. 

Slow It Down 

If your family is anything like mine, we came flying into last January full speed ahead. We were over-scheduled and constantly on-the-go, our lives filled with many good things that we loved, but altogether too many things. Raising children, building careers, nurturing friendships, prioritizing health, serving others, taking trips – the sum of all the good was a soul stretched thin. We were desperately in need of a change we didn’t know we needed.  

The cost of not running ragged was a great one, kicked off with a season at home (almost exclusively at home). There were sacrifices – emotional, physical, financial, mental – and ripping off the band-aid of the life we knew was tough. But the path was cleared for a new way of living – one of simplicity and stillness. There was a reckoning, a re-centering, and a re-discovery of the joy of being together. 

All the Small Things 

This reckoning gave the ability to look back on life with clarity. Peering into the past, we began to value and appreciate what we had previously expected and demanded. From hugs and handshakes to family gatherings and concerts, the ordinary took on an air of extraordinary. Moments with friends and family became precious to us. We began to crave music, theater, and the arts, appreciating their communal beauty and ability to draw people together. We longed for sports games, neighborhood playdates, and picnics in the park. School became a novelty, and even kids who once dreaded classes began to wish they could go back, now with a refreshed thirst for education and knowledge and community. 

As we longed to meet together and see each other's faces and feel the embrace of a loved one, we collectively renewed our need for community and hopefully began to see the world in a more connected way. 

The Gift of Time 

In hindsight, 2020 handed out a few gifts along its devastating path, the greatest of which was time. A new wave of working-from-home was ushered in for many who never had the option before. No commuting, no traveling, less meetings, and less chats in the break room yielded more time at home for family, hobbies, cooking, and focusing on wellness. Many parents were given more time with little ones, enjoying the sweet little moments that are often missed in the hustle and bustle of life. 

With a respite from social obligations, our time became more our own. There was freedom in saying “no” and “sorry, I can’t make it.” It was a chance to reinvent how we spent our most valuable resource – our time.  

A Door to the Outdoors 

With extra time and plenty of restrictions, 2020 hurried us out the door into outdoor spaces. We became like characters in Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go – “It’s opener there, in the wide-open air. Out there, things can happen, and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you.”  

Things were happening in nature, and had been all along, while we were inside too busy to notice them. There were paths to be hiked, wildlife to be observed, mountains to traverse, lakes to paddle, rivers to fish, stars to be gazed upon, and tents to be assembled. There were backyards ripe with little discoveries, neighborhood sidewalks to be scootered and bicycled, and picnic blankets ready to be laid upon. Time outdoors became the balance we all needed to the struggles we were facing, offering clarity and a renewed sense of purpose. 

Agile & Adaptable 

Maybe 2020 left you feeling exhausted and disappointed. Maybe it helped you make some healthy changes for which you’ll be forever grateful. But certainly, it left all of us more agile and adaptable. We are more ready to face challenges and find new ways to solve problems – to make old things work in a new system or tear the old system down completely and rebuild. Through devastation and loss, we gained strength and creativity. Hindsight is 20/20, and 2020's in our rearview. We're ready for whatever 2021 has in store. 

Originally printed in the January 2021 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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