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Goodbye, 2020 and Hello, 2021!

We made it, fam! 

I mean, maybe it’s a good thing that we’re not charging into 2021 with our lists of resolutions and plans and goals? Maybe? Maybe there’s a lesson in humility to be learned here? I don’t know. 

I don’t want to make light of what just happened. Of what’s still happening. 2020 was rough and we aren’t out of the woods yet. But I think that here at the very end of the year, it bears acknowledging that 2020 wasn’t all bad. Like any really spectacular wipe out, it’s worth watching the video (a few times over) to look at what went wrong and when, consider how to avoid fucking up like that in the future, and maybe have a laugh at some of the sheer stupidity…because you have to make some jokes about the horrific things. You have to – that’s how you keep putting one foot in front of the other. What lessons can we take from this year that we can use to gird our loins against adversity going forward? 

This year started out okay – hell, it started out better than okay; it was going to be the best year ever for both my husband and I. We all know what happened instead. I don’t want to be self-pitying about the awful shit, nor do I wish for any acknowledgement of the silver linings to sound smug and unfeeling. I realize that nerves are pretty raw and frayed and someone’s going to find this post offensive for some reason but that is not the intention. Enough qualifications and disclaimers? Yeah, I think so too. 

I love getting to this point in the year usually; Christmas is behind us and the January craziness is still a little way off; it’s the tiny bit of quiet breathing space where I spend some time reflecting on the past year and giddily formulating goals for the next…but this year is different. Part of me still wants to dream in technicolor about the endless possibilities in 2021, but mostly I just feel tired and sad. I miss my dog, I miss playing music, and the rest of winter seems like a long stretch of more of the same: an unsustainable work schedule, friends, mentors, and loved ones lost (some to covid and some just because life be like that), intense pressure to provide for my family but also to be the mom who’s there to look after everyone’s hearts and souls, and guilt because that isn’t all possible. Financial uncertainty. Decimated savings. Grief and stress. When I look in the mirror sometimes I don’t recognize the old woman staring back; she didn’t look like that a year ago. 

But, like I said before, it wasn’t all bad. We are really lucky in lots of ways and 2020 brought all sorts of growth opportunities. Our family grew closer. Relationships deepened. Our brass quintet played lots of outdoor pop up concerts over the summer which I will remember as some of my favourite gigs ever. I took some big courses and started developing a new career path (I’m not leaving the gym though, that’s not a thing). It was a good training year; I grew physically and mentally stronger and was able to stay relatively free of injury. I took my business in some new and wild directions, and though those changes were motivated by fear and necessity and were hella stressful at times, they’ve opened lots of doors that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. 

What to take from all this? Maybe 2020 wasn’t the year anyone wanted but it definitely taught us some lessons that we needed. So now what? Ready or not, the new year is here and nothing is changing in any major ways (yet – FINGERS CROSSED) but that’s no reason to not make the best of it and indulge in a little bit of dreaming. Right?

But seriously. How on earth are we to set goals and dream big and get our pricks up over the possibilities of a new year when we’re exhausted from being dragged through the dirt for the past 10 months? The answer to that question is…

…I don’t fucking know. Here’s what I’m going to try, though; maybe it’ll work for both of us. 

Here is my big hairy ass goal for 2021: control what’s controllable. 

That’s it. Because the biggest lesson that I learned in 2020 was that I can keep trying to do everything and wear all the hats and please everyone, but that only leads to exhaustion and burnout, and that’s no fun. It also meant that in a lot of instances I didn’t do the awesome job that I wanted to, and I’m carrying around a lot of embarrassment over not giving 100% to some things that really deserved it…when really, I just didn’t have 100% to give. So I’m going to do better. I’m going to pace myself, say no sometimes, put more effort into the projects that I do take on, and make sure I have some recovery time – you know, stop and smell the roses once in a while. Control what I can and roll with the rest. 

So, here’s to a better year in 2021! I mean, 2020 has set the bar pretty low and we still have some major challenges to face, but I think there’s lots to be grateful for (and if anyone wants to slap me with the ‘toxic positivity’ label, go right ahead – who the fuck knows what that even means, anyway?) and it’s worth pausing the slog today to say HELL YES WE MADE IT and do a big round of socially-distanced or virtual high fives. Let’s keep on keeping on and with any luck it won’t be too much longer before we can actually high-five, wet willy, fist bump, belly buck, and hug and that’s going to be awesome. Well, maybe not the wet willies. 

Happy New Year!

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