2020 was a year of reminders for many of us, including the fragility of humanity, the necessity of community, and the unpredictability of life. Entering into 2021, I've been thinking about how to put into practice what I learned in 2020.
Here is what I'm putting into practice in this new year as a result of what 2020 has taught me:
- Live like I have nothing to lose. How would I live if I really believed this? 2020 reminded me that plans and stability can change in less than a day. Why do I spend so much time and energy maintaining what can be gone in an instant? Going into 2021 I decided to take the plunge and move out of a basement apartment. I'm also planning to pursue teaching overseas, which means letting go of the comfort and stability of my current job situation. I'm practicing risking my dreams and trusting God with the outcome.
- Believe that God is bigger. I confess that often I am driven by fear. Fear of losing my home, job, health, and not measuring up to where I think I should be in life. How would I live if I believed that God is bigger than my fears, failures, and worst-case scenarios? Some of my fears came true in 2020, and I'm stronger for living through them. I'm practicing walking in freedom from fear by not letting my fears have power over me.
- Give permission to fail. Practicing failing is incredibly difficult for my perfectionistic and high-performance hardwiring. However, in 2020 I learned that failures allow me to grow, transform, and be creative. This year I'm giving myself (and my students) permission to fail.
- Forgive. I learned in 2020, through numerous counseling sessions, that resentment keeps me in bondage and prevents me from living fully. I realized that often I'm in bondage because of unforgiveness not only towards others but towards myself. I'm learning how to let go of unrealistic expectations of myself and others. I'm practicing extending grace towards myself and releasing resentment towards those who have wounded me deeply.
- Have more fun. 2020 taught me that scheduling fun is essential for my sanity and well-being. I had to find creative ways to have fun in my little basement apartment during the quarantine and lockdown months. Laughing is one of my favorite things to do, and discovering that laughter is a natural anti-depressant is an added bonus. I'm practicing more fun in 2021 by learning how to swing dance, planning my next vacation, and playing with Legos.
- Be grateful. It's so easy for me to forget to be grateful. Every time I practice gratitude I'm reminded how quickly gratefulness for even the smallest things, such as air to breathe, puts life into perspective and decreases my anxiety. Gratefulness allows me to enjoy the gift of the present moment and releases me from pessimism about the future. I'm practicing viewing my glass as half full, rather than half empty, and gratitude for thriving through the challenges of 2020.
About the Author: Deirdre works in the IDEAS office as the Executive Support Specialist. She teaches Hebrew, is an avid runner, and loves to travel. Enjoy other blog posts by Deirdre, such as How Waiting Transforms.