Wow, hard to believe another year is almost upon us. 2021. Going into this new year, and thinking about it – and then relieving THIS year … almost makes you feel innocent and naïve last January, doesn’t it? This year, if nothing else, gave us a heaping dose of perspective. Life just feels “different” now, and maybe those things we were worrying about last year don’t really make the cut anymore this year – maybe we see that they weren’t as important as we believed, at the time, that they were.
When you think about it though, we really set 2020 UP to fail, poor thing. Remember what a big hoopla it was back in January that it was TWENTY-TWENTY – the year of perfect insight, perfect hindsight, perfect clarity, perfect vision? I mean, who could live up to that kind of expectation, amiright?
But as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Maybe we got exactly what we wished for – we certainly DID get insight and clarity about things we take for granted. We learned that there is so much in our lives that are outside of our control. So much goes on outside of us, and all we control is how we choose to respond. All we can control is whether we maintain our focus on what good can from something. All we can control is whether we let fears and worries cycle and repeat endlessly in our minds.
We cannot control how many bacteria or viruses are in our world. But we can control how we maintain our own bodies. We can control if we are giving our body a diversity of foods, and limiting sugar and processed foods, so that our bodies can have all the building blocks for a good immune system. We can control if we are appreciating and enjoying the movement of our bodies – both because we truly value the gift that it is, and because we know exercise stimulates flow in the body and strengthens the immune system. We can control whether we employ basic measures to reduce the exposure that our immune system has to battle.
We cannot control hate and violence in the world. But we can control our own judgements and assumptions. We can continue to always explore the judgements we make about people every day, often without even realizing it. We can always try to choose kindness and acceptance, by keeping in mind that everyone has a story, and you never know what hardship someone else may be dealing with or what kind of a day they may be having, and just give them a pass. We can challenge the stereotypes we hold – and take note of the examples that don’t fit the stereotype, to educate our subconscious that the generality it made was not a fact. Heck, I think cheerleaders to this day still are equated to being “ditzy” … well, I was an honors student, and graduated with an electrical engineering degree, and I was a cheerleader. In fact, cheerleading was one of the things I’ve loved most in my life.
And we cannot control politics. Getting angry about it, and stewing about it and dwelling on it, doesn’t change that we cannot control it. We can control choosing to actually get *involved* in politics, but most people are happy to make themselves miserable from the sidelines. I am one that is happy on the sidelines, but I’ve accepted that if I am not choosing to engage, then it is outside of my control, so making myself miserable by dwelling on everything that is wrong serves no gain to anyone. We can choose to not get too wrapped up in what is going on – there is a wide range between staying ‘aware’ and staying ‘consumed’. I choose the former, with a healthy side of detachment.
And we certainly cannot control losing loved ones. But, we can control how we love the ones that are left, and maybe taking this moment to recalibrate the priorities we put on relationships and quality time versus accomplishments and work.
So, heading into 2021, we can control whether we choose to ACCEPT the world as it is, however it is, or reject and resist it. Knowing, full well, that rejecting and resisting is exhausting, and never accomplishes our goal – it never stops change. If that were true, …we’d still have a frontier.
My goal going into 2021 is to use this gift of isolation and normalness-upheaval to continue to be introspective. Continue to explore what is important to me, what I love and what lights me up, reconnect with hobbies I loved as a child, or play with new things that I always wanted to but never had “time” (e.g. confidence) , continue to reconnect with my body, and movement, and appreciate everything that is healthy and going right with my body.
My second goal is Kindness. Kindness to my physical body, nourishing it, loving it, moving it. Kindness to my mind, stop beating myself up and judging myself too harshly; to grant myself that I’m always doing the best I can; allowing myself to play and relax and enjoy the present moment. Kindness to others, realizing that they are struggling too, and beating themselves up too, and that they are doing the best they can too – and that THAT similarity is more important than all the ways that we may be different.
What are your goals for 2021?