To recap on 2020: things did not go as planned. I had rung in the New Year halfway across the world, scuba diving in the warm tropical waters of Guam and Palau. Not too long after spending the holidays abroad, the global pandemic brought our world to a screeching halt. Everything changed and it changed very quickly.
The office closed. Therapy stopped. Recovery meetings stopped. The gym stopped. Celebrations stopped.
Zoom became our universal solution. It wasn’t the same, but it was at least something. God bless the internet. And memes.
We all cried together, all over our respective homes. On the bathroom floor, at our desk or kitchen table chairs, on the bedroom floor, on the couch, in the kitchen, in the closet. Tears of suffering, of fear, of grief, of powerlessness. We cried because we could not control this pandemic, we could not stop it, and we could not escape it. Our individual problems all presented a little differently, but collectively we felt the pain. Isn’t that horribly beautiful? That for perhaps the first time ever in the history of the world, we were all in something entirely together?
I remember in March no longer feeling it was safe to enter my parents’ home. Not because I was worried about me, but because I was worried about them. Daughter not allowed to hug mother, mother not allowed to hug daughter. It was physically painful. Never had we needed each other so much, and never had we felt more that we could not give ourselves what we needed. So easily within reach, such dire consequences hanging over our heads. My mother looked at me and I looked at her, the tears welling in her brown eyes, telling me how scared she was. The tears welled in my blue ones, mirroring every feeling. Wanting to fix everything and yet having no solution. The virus was a giant question mark. In what ways would it continue to touch us? To take from us?
2020 pressed on. Things opened up and then slammed shut again. I wrote a memoir in thirty days. I spent the fourth of July by the pool in Vegas and Labor Day weekend adventuring in Glacier National Park. I found Montana to be the prettiest state I have yet visited, and my favorite one so far too. I felt guilty because I traveled, and I also felt guilty because I had had fun. There was a pandemic going on, and the fun felt shameful. Everything felt like a risk. The laughter from the trips, on the other hand, filled my joy tank up so full it held me over for weeks past the trips’ ending. It had felt so good to not be in isolation, even briefly. I deeply missed being in community and consistent human connection. I had not realized how lonely it was to be living by myself in my downtown loft, in a pandemic, even with my sixty-four pound lab-mix ever present and always underfoot.
I finally adjusted to working from home. The gym improvised with outdoor workouts. Therapy resumed with a new therapist. New recovery meetings formed, outdoors and ocean-side as is apropos to San Diego. I watched people struggle to get sober in a pandemic. I watched people stay sober despite the pandemic. I watched people wrestle their demons as the year threatened to get the best of them. Of a lot of us. I held loved ones’ hands without actually being able to hold their hands. I, too, needed to be held. I danced, alone in my kitchen, to the two new Taylor Swift albums that were released. Thank you, Taylor, for carrying us. I watched friends triumph and experience miracles of the spectacular variety. I wept with joy for them. I watched people overcome. I watched myself overcome. I discovered I’d finally found the healing that I have been seeking, unabatedly, for over seven years. My family moved out of state. I spent NYE doing something unnerving, and exciting, and completely because I wanted to, and for perhaps the first time that was enough: I bought myself my dream car.
New doors opened, fresh magic entered.
What I got from 2020 was a chance to come back to myself. To rest. Really rest. With nowhere to be and nothing to achieve. To sleep. To shift my work hours. To exercise more. To form new friendships. To write. To help others with their sobriety. To spend nearly all of my time with my best friend, Charlie. To finally arrive at a daily meditation practice. To feel. To grieve. To center. To breathe.
In 2021 I hope to continue to let go. Every year continues to be a lesson in how to better let go and to hold life with an open palm instead of my nails dug in. To hold life, and to hold myself, just a little more gently. I hope that I honor myself and my body, better and more than ever. I hope that I continue to believe more in myself every day. I hope that when I perceive limitations, I trust myself to break past them. I know that the only person putting limitations on me is me. I hope to smash self-created delusions and any fear-based lies my ego may be telling. I hope I see only truth. I hope I see the miracle present in every small and large act.
In 2021 I hope I can continue be better at being honest. I heard it shared once that people pleasing is a form of radical dishonesty. I hope I stand in my truth, in both a soft and powerful way. I hope I choose me over keeping anyone else comfortable. When I choose my truth, I practice radical self-love. When I stay true to myself, I find it much easier to stay true to everyone around me. This is my highest form of integrity.
In 2021 I hope I allow myself to go after what I want, full send. I hope that I will think even less about how I might appear, what you might think of me, how I want you to think of me, and think more about how I can best be of help and usefulness to the world around me. I hope I become more willing to live out loud, in a noticeable, authentic, and unapologetic way. I hope I can call in the ease, and allow things to be effortless.
In 2021 I hope that I am brave enough to really follow my heart, however that looks. I hope that I can become more me, to continue the unfolding and the blossoming that is my story. I hope for more spiritual experiences and to continue to grow closer to a God of my understanding. It just keeps getting better and better.
In 2021 I hope for new warm, tropical waters to scuba dive in, for love in all its forms, and for the safety and health of our family and friends. I hope to continue to wake up to Charlie gently nudging me that he is ready for breakfast, rather than to the sound of my alarm clock. I hope for road trips to the PNW, the thrill of exploring unfamiliar landscapes for the first time, and putting my new four wheel drive capability to good use.
In 2021, I hope for a readiness to be big again. I have spent many years going inward. I feel like a planted seed that has been sprouting roots in soil, growing outwards in the dark. Only a little visible green part peeking upwards into the light. My roots have grown sturdy, strong, and sure. I hope that 2021 will bring growth on the exterior. That I will move the magic outwards. That I will sprout buds that will unfurl into petals and offer to the world what it is I have been working on growing, on the inside, for so long. So beautifully long. In 2021, I want to take up space.
Someone very dear to me once told me that if he had one wish, his wish would be that I would know my worth.
This year saw that wish come true.