There are memes about this year and how bad it has been. There are jokes about how awful everything was in twenty-twenty. Some people even consider the words twenty-twenty a curse word. We got sick. We had to stay home. We found ourselves missing people we are close to. We lost loved ones. We got labeled essential and non-essential. The economy took a hit. Our pocket books took a hit. We had the election from...well, you know.
Was this the worst year of our lives?
I experienced a lot of the awful things you did. I had to undergo missing my grandchildren. I didn't get to travel as much as I wanted to or go all the places I wanted to go. I was right there with you wishing I could just go certain places and do certain things, and throw my damn mask in the garbage.
Was it the worst year of our lives? It was not the worst year of mine.
Why would I say it wasn't my worst year? Because I chose to focus on the good things. In my twenty-twenty hindsight I can see a lot of bad that happened, but I can also see so much good.
I choose to focus on all of those good things. I set my mind on focusing on the positive, and being grateful for every little thing. In January I spent one whole Saturday doing my very first vision board. Twenty-twenty was supposed to be the year of perfect vision and focus. My vision board is pretty, and it includes all of the things I thought would be important for me to focus on. It includes gratitude, travel, health, family, friends, being my own boss, writing a book, being an Amazon best seller, pictures, flowers, money, quotes, dreams and goals. I even chose a word of the year.
Meraki is my word of the year. It means putting your heart, soul and creativity into your work, and leaving a little piece of yourself in all you do. That is exactly how I wanted to approach this year. And I did. I poured my heart and soul into all of the things I could control. I focused on being the change I wished to see in the world. I concentrated my time and effort on putting more good into the world any way I could. I set my intentions on making the world a better place, even if it was only a little better, and even if it was just little piece of the world.
In December of twenty-nineteen I started a podcast called Tammyforachange. In twenty twenty I produced, edited and published more than fifty podcast episodes, all designed to help people be the best version of themselves, all created to put more love, compassion, empathy, gratitude, positivity, and kindness into the world.
In twenty-twenty I traveled to Hawaii, before the shut-down. I traveled out west and visited my cousins along with my boyfriend and his parents in our RV after the shut down.
In twenty-twenty I got the idea for an app that will potentially reduce bullying, sex-trafficking and kidnapping. In four short months I got that app developed, and it will be on the market this month.
In twenty twenty, in the midst of a pandemic I, along with my boyfriend/life partner, Jody, purchased and started a cafe. I get to work alongside my daughter and my two nieces. I get up very early. I work extremely hard but I do it for me. Because of this decision I was able to quit my job.
So was it really the worst year ever?
In two thousand eight my little sister, my best friend passed from ovarian cancer. In two thousand nine my mom passed. In two thousand twelve my dad passed. I have had far worse years than this one.
Every year has some bad in it. Every year had some good in it. Much like every person has some good and bad in them. Much like every race has some good and bad. Much like every town, religion, sexual orientation. country, region, life choice, season, friend, foe, gift, goal, promise, scenery, path, and relationship. I could go on and on and on.
The point, my friends, is simply this; there is good and bad in every thing and everyone. We just need to focus on the good in all of it. There is also good and bad in me and you. If you focus on the bad you will find more and more bad. If you focus on the good, I promise you will find more good.
Let's just take a really brief look at some of the good things we would have missed out on if we had skipped twenty-twenty. We now realize what it means to be essential. We have a renewed appreciation for the people who sell us our groceries, take care of our ill, ship our toilet paper, teach our children, grow our food, and so much more. We now realize how important it is to get together with family and friends. We will no longer take our health or our loved ones for granted. If we have learned anything from this year, we will now value and treasure every walk outside, each gathering, the ability to travel, every doctor, nurse, CNA and hospital, the sense of community, our right to vote and renewable energy sources like wind and sun. People hung out of their windows to sing songs and play music to remind people they even didn't know that they weren't alone.
If we are the people I believe we are, or the people we can be we will take these irreplaceable lessons with us into twenty-twenty one and all of the other years to come.
We have the choice to direct our attention to all that is going wrong in the world, or to seek out and embrace, nurture and epitomize all that is good, beautiful and amazing in our life, in our world, in ourselves.
Maybe we needed this wake-up call, lest we forget that we shouldn't take things, people, nature, life for granted. Let's not waste it. I challenge you to start with yourself. What can you always remember and never forget to cherish today that you may have taken for granted in yesteryear? Include yourself. You survived a lot of crappy stuff. You are resilient. You are strong. You are capable of great things. The next time you go to the grocery store give that cashier an extra nice smile and thanks. If you get the opportunity to spread some cheer, support a local small business, go for a walk, breathe fresh air without a piece of cloth covering your face give thanks, show some gratitude, don't take anything or anyone for granted, love more fiercely, be kind more often, always be the change.
I will leave you with this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy" and this one by Zahid Abas, "Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever" and last but not least, "Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up." by Pema Chodron.