Never in my life have I been so willing to say goodbye to a year. And while I know that tomorrow won’t magically turn the page on events that have worn us all weary, I am confident that better days are in our sights.
Sayonara 2020! And good riddance!
Truth be told, I actually feel a bit sorry for 2020, it being a year that will live on in infamy. After all, it isn’t 2020’s fault that a pandemic fell into its lap, exacerbated by racial and political tensions boiling over. To be fair, on this last day of 2020, I should at least acknowledge that its events, if we’re wise, might serve to open our eyes to very necessary change. I should even admit that the past 365 days brought some goodness into my world, including a necessary slowing of life’s pace, a deepening of my trust in God, and a greater appreciation for all that I already have. In fact, in spite of all of the year’s darkness, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that my family has experienced some true blessings.
As I replace the old calendar with a brand new one tomorrow, I’m reluctant to be too bold in making resolutions. I think I should instead face whatever comes a bit more deliberately. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that my own reality isn’t necessarily truth. And the older I get, the more I realize that don’t always know what I think I know. So I hope that 2021, for me will be about taking a step back and taking a few deep breaths. Which plays into the one true goal I’m setting for the new year… to stop worrying!
Okay, that’s pretty bold. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I think it’s time I tackle this bad habit. I am a champion worrier. Always have been, from the time I was very young. I’ve always worried what people think of me. Too much. I’ve always worried about what-ifs. Give me a worst-case-scenario and I’m going to dwell on it. I worry about things that have happened, and things that might happen. I get anxious about my loved ones and friends, their safety, their health, their emotional well-being. And I only breathe a sigh of relief when the bad thing I’ve imagined doesn’t come to pass. This is no way to live.
I think that I’ve convinced myself that I’m not loving well if I don’t worry about others. But recently, I’ve realized just how much sleep I’ve lost over the years with this habit. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times, that nothing good can be gained by worrying. It can’t change the outcome of any circumstance and only serves to take away my own peace of mind. Also, I know I’ve often placed a weight on others when voicing my own worry.
It seems odd that I might think I can just choose to stop worrying, but I think I have, and it’s working. I’ll give some credit to habits I’ve made more consistent in the past year, specifically, prayer and meditation. In fact, it was serendipitous timing that my HeadSpace app sent me this reminder today:
“A day thinking about what could happen, should happen, or what might have been, is a day missed.”
Quite honestly, several times lately, I have simply chosen to stop worrying and I truly surprised myself when I succeeded. When a snowstorm hit our area the other day, for instance, normally I would wring myself out with worry about my kids’ safety while driving to and from work. This time, I just chose to stop. For some reason I can now accept that it doesn’t make me a bad mom if I don’t get into a panic about my kids’ safe arrival at work. If something were to happen, then would be the time to focus my thoughts on it. If not, and if I haven’t worried about it, I haven’t wasted precious time being anxious for no reason.
This. This is what I need more of. This is my resolution for 2021.
I do have one other goal that I’m confident I can accomplish next year. Stand-up paddle boarding. I tried it a few years ago and loved it. I’m good at it too. Not that it requires much in the line of physical greatness. You stand up on the board. You balance. You paddle. This I can do. I’ve seen others who can’t manage the standing and balancing and therefore, I’ll personally claim this ability as a skill. I’ve pondered buying a good board for years now. They aren’t cheap and I’ve never allowed myself the extravagance. But I received a holiday bonus from my employer this month and I’ve decided what to do with it. If there was ever a time to spend money on something fun, something that’s also good for the body, mind and soul, it’s now.
So I’ll say goodbye to 2020, and thank it for the lessons learned. I look forward optimistically, yet cautiously to a brighter year ahead.