I started this blog before the events of January 6th. Usually on January 6th, I remember it’s the twelfth day of Christmas, the day the Magi finally arrived to give Jesus his presents. I’ve used them as my excuse when I forget birthdays; hey, if Jesus was okay with getting late presents, then it should be okay with you . . .
January 6th is also my cousin’s birthday and this year she got a great birthday present wrapped up as Democratic control of the Senate. We were doing a TikTok happy dance until mid-day when our country changed forever.
I spent the next few days coaching clients from across the country. They were all trying to process the question; what happened to me, to us, to our country? I don’t have an answer. The only thing I know is that we will collectively continue to process and struggle and worry for an indefinite period of time.
So, I’ve decided to extend the year of 2020 into a 13th month because there’s nothing new about this year. It looks and feels just like the last one. And I feel compelled to write something – if only to gain perspective as of today.
With that caveat, I start my reflections on the lessons of 2020 + 1 month. Don’t judge, I’ve been in isolation for ten months and only have my cat to proofread my stuff.
#1: Voting Matters
I’m not sure I need to say anything more here other than Stacey Abrams and all the grass roots organizations should be granted sainthood. The Lincoln Project showed me what courageous messaging looks like and thank God for constitutional lawyers.
#2: Keep Saying Yes
Way back in January, before Covid was a household word, I said yes to venturing back on stage to perform in a reader’s theater event. That seems like a lifetime ago but I hold on to that event as a future goal; to do it again with fellow writers willing to bring their works to life on stage with a live audience!
Once Covid hit, I continued to say yes to all sorts of things. Adopting a cat and seeing him emerge from hiding behind the shower curtain to insisting on cuddles each night on the couch. I said yes to a writing workshop and NaNoWriMo and joining the Shuffle Collective so I could move my writing forward. I said yes to a wonderful new women’s group and I said an enthusiastic “hell, yes” to experiencing the healing of breathwork.
So many worlds open up when I consider yes before no.
#3 I Can Still Learn!
I am still capable of learning new vocabulary – like porch pirates, monoclonal antibodies, doomscrolling, and nomophobia. I learned dumpster fire can be extended to the entire world rather than a simple fire in my trash bin. Zoom is now a noun with lots of variations; Zoom-bombing, Zoom fatigue, Zoom-a-phobia. I learned flatten the curve doesn’t always apply to a bra that is way too tight and PPE is an acronym I should really care about because it saves lives.
I learned how to order just about anything and have it delivered to my doorstep. I’ve even made friends with the Amazon Prime drivers (see my blog of our rocky past relationship).
I learned Reiki. This may seem odd, given it’s a hands-on energy healing modality, so the only victim I have to practice on is Ollie, my cat, who tells me repeatedly he’s fine, please go heal someone else. Seriously, the deeper lesson was in the creation of the community that surrounds me while I learn. Thank you, Reiki sisters.
#3.5 Intelligence and Compassion are Always Sexy
Okay, maybe not worthy of a full lesson but more of a reinforcement in my belief that two of the sexiest things a man can do, is show compassion and intelligence. I spent most of the year crushing on Dr. Fauci. If he wasn’t married, I’d make a serious play for him.
#4 Things I Don’t Need
I don’t really need my car. In fact, I’m sure I’ve forgotten how to drive on the freeway, so I might be a danger to society whenever we are allowed to be out and about again.
I don’t really need my oven. It broke last month and I got through the holiday season just fine without it. Of course, having my future daughter-in-law develop awesome baking skills has helped!
I don’t really need my hairdresser (although I miss her as a friend). Apparently, my hair isn’t as gray as I thought it was. That said, if events continue as they are, I will be full-on gray by the end of the month.
#5 Things I Do Need
Stable internet. Keeping the internet stable in the midst of world-wide instability is no easy task. I’m surprised networks didn’t completely crash and burn. To those IT professionals who only hear from us when things go wrong, I’d like to say a big heartfelt thank you.
Detailed evacuation plans and a pre-packed car. Don’t the wildfires seem like a lifetime ago?
Fashionable masks that match my outfit while keeping all of us safe.
Hugs. Never again will I take a hug for granted.
People. Ironically, staying home actually expanded my world. In my coaching practice, I worked with more than eighty people during a global crisis and national upheaval. Together, we navigated through a wide variety of topics – loss, confusion, ambiguity, fear, desire to show up with integrity and care. I had the honor to hold space for them to process and discover and choose who they wanted to be. In return, they gave me hope, along with all my dear friends and family.
Ultimately, the lesson I’ve learned most deeply is that we need each other and together we will get through this.
I don’t know when, exactly, I’ll celebrate the New Year. What I do know is that it will take vigilance and work and honest conversation and continued lessons.