We are but just a few days away from ending a year of growth and heartache. As a nation, we have had to rely on one another more than ever to do the right thing. (Do not fret I will NOT be talking politics).
The holiday season has been different than ever before. I made the latkes and lit the candles, made Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. But, what was missing? Our immediate families could not be with us in person and we could not hear their laughs or see their smiles. I post a lot on social media. Yet, somehow I did not feel right saying how much I missed being with my family and friends. Well, because we can call them and see them on facetime. Others of course lost so much more than just a meal with family.
As a collective the blog ends our year with talking about our intentions. I had a lot of intentions for 2020; more numerous than I care to share! Yet, I did not get to even a quarter of what I wanted to accomplish.
I had a brief moment where I felt like a total failure. What was I even doing with my life? I sat around, went on social media, cooked meals, and screamed aimlessly about missing school assignments or rooms that needed to be cleaned. I focused on things that really did not matter. I did not take the last ten months and use them to be productive. I was really beating myself up about it all. I finally said out loud to two of my friends on an ongoing text thread we have; I am such a failure I am literally doing nothing with my life right now. We laughed and joked. I cried. It was fleeting.
But, I had to take a minute to reflect and realize that I was doing all this to avoid having to deal with myself. I have always had a purpose, a goal; something to do. I had the pta, cheer, my sons numerous sports teams, work, volunteering and obligations.
I found myself lost in the days and starting to feel sorry for myself. What was I going to do with my life? I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Here I was; able to be that person I thought I wanted.
I had to take time to pause and reflect on what that meant for me and what was I going to do with this opportunity.
I do not want to imply that I feel ten months of being alive, being able to survive physically, emotionally and financially is a waste. Of course, I am so thankful for being able to make it through on of the hardest times in our history.
Avoidance is a funny thing. I took it to a new level. I ignored my health issues, ignored the fact that I don’t have to be doing something every moment for my life to have meaning, ignored things that had to be done around the house, avoided doctors appointments and avoided myself.
I began to focus on the things I was doing right, the closer relationships I forged with friends, being home with my kids and really being able to engage with them more than ever before, being able to spend more time with my husband, seeing nature, watching movies I kept meaning to get to and just starting to recognize I have so much I have done in my life.
I felt as if I had to prove to myself I was still worthy. But, why? We are worthy whether we are working or staying home.
There is importance in setting daily, weekly and monthly challenges for you to not lose yourself during this time. Here are a few ideas –
- Try to set one daily intention for yourself that focuses on only you. It can be as simple as reading for a few minutes, taking a walk, or calling a friend; www.chopra.com
- Check out websites on mindfulness such as; www.mindful.org
- There are many free reads on www.amazon.com
- Pick up a phone and phone an old friend
- Try a new recipe
As we walk into 2021 and say goodbye to the old; don’t think about what you did “wrong” or didn’t get done; rather think about what the possibility of a new year holds in store for us all. Our lives are forever collectively changed after living through a worldwide pandemic together. We can either grow from those experiences or we can get lost in all that didn’t go as planned.
I am choosing to remember how resilient we have become, how we learned to do things we have not done before, the creativity we all showed in how we celebrated birthdays, weddings and holidays; we became more tech savvy, learned to have more compassion for others and how our children have coped with having to deal with remote learning. I do not want this to be our new normal so I refuse to accept that it will be like this forever. I have learned to take things one day at a time and not constantly worry about what will be a week, month or year from now. It takes A LOT of work for me to do that since I am a worrier.
I hope that we can all remember that just surviving this year is a miracle!
Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.