Lessons Learned from the Crazy Days of 2020 (Otherwise Known as the Year of the Pandemic)

The difficult year of 2020…

I barely remember the beginning months of 2020 with its angst over the Impeachment of President Trump. That all began to pale as the news of this nasty illness brought forth to all the world the Grim Reaper in a very – real – sense. As the days went by the Grim Reaper crept closer and closer to our shores. Then it tumbled into our cities. Pushed along by our very mobile society, it washed into every facet of our lives. You could not go an hour without hearing the dreaded words “COVID 19” – the pandemic.

As I look back on this year I wonder what lessons I have taken away from this craziness we call 2020. Personally, I was hurt by not being able to be busy with activities like the Wii bowling group or my Book Clubs. I valiantly tried to keep the writing group together by writing prompts for those that had email addresses but was frustrated that we couldn’t seem to share our writing as we had when we were together. I soon found I was a 24/7 news watcher. I couldn’t seem to focus enough to read books. I struggled with being depressed. My aches and pains became worse from doing so much sitting in front of the TV and computer. I talked to my dog too much and to my relatives too little. I swore more than I ever have in my life – mostly at the TV when the orange man was talking.

The lessons I learned were that had I not had friends to write to and talk to, I never would have kept my sanity. I learned that I believed in science and was willing to follow the guidelines set by them. I found that having a dog as a companion was an absolute godsend. I found I could learn new techy things in a pinch like when I tried Zoom for the first time or when I finally gave up trying to get my old phone to do new tricks and instead got a new phone. I learned to grieve through texts and to be with relatives and friends during a video funeral. I found I just had to have human contact each day by going to a drive-thru for lunch. I learned that just seeing real people made me realize that the world was still ‘out there’. I learned and relearned that so many people had it so much worse than I, including my neighbors. I learned to express gratitude to those who were doing their best to continue to serve.  I learned I could be someone else’s lifeline by listening and giving support as much as I could. I learned charity really does begin at home in my own neighborhood.

I turned to prayer, meditation, and relaxation exercises (learned eons ago in Yoga classes). I used my years of healing others to help heal myself. I drug out my slow cookers and started cooking meals instead of going to restaurants. I wrote when things just burst out from my mind that I could not contain. My motto of the year was One day at a Time –just make it through this day and there will be a tomorrow. I also relied on living each day so as not to have regrets about how I interacted with others.

Coping with the deaths of beloved neighbors, longtime friends, and even my dear sister seemed surreal. Thank goodness I have so many happy memories of them that I can recall to keep away the blackness of grief.

It’s been a long torturous year and I am as happy as anyone to slam the door shut on 2020. The first day of the year 2021 seems brighter somehow than yesterday. Hope is on the horizon. A calming of the rough waters surely will come soon. The year 2021 to me is like the bud of a mystery flower – opening slowly to show its magnificent form and colors. I know 2021 will not be without its troubles too, but surely – surely – 2021 will not be as difficult to live through like 2020. We can only hope, live one day at a time, and be grateful for each day lived.  

Comments are welcome.

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