“Pain teaches you what you need to fight for.”-Sherri Mandell
When you ask anyone to describe 2020, I guarantee you will be greeted with a series of similar adjectives including, but not limited to: crazy, devastating, unreal, and of course, dumpster fire. You can even purchase a ceramic, flaming dumpster Christmas ornament, labeled 2020, to hang on your tree! I wonder if there has ever been such a shared experience across the globe as the sentiments felt for 2020. What is interesting—and perhaps not unique to only me—is that I felt as though I had been here before. There was a very bazaar déjà vu like feeling as the world began to shut down. As normal routines ceased, and we evaluated how we were going to survive in a state of such unpredictability, I knew I had been here before.
In 2015 when Jayson unexpectedly passed while training for The Marine Corps Marathon, our life as we knew it ended. Nothing was the same and nor would it be again. The routine was lopsided, the heartache was suffocating, and my children looked to me for answers that I had not yet even begun to plot. How could I build a life on a foundation of so much rubble and uneven footing? 2015 was my own personal dumpster fire.
With that in view, the takeaways that I will share from our 2020, are really lessons I learned in 2015. I hope that they resonate with you and that you are able to see beyond the mess that has been 2020, to the beauty that is waiting to be discovered.
Top Takeaways From 2020/2015
People: Nothing can stop me from “loving on” my people. Even though I may not be able to see them, I can’t still show them I care by making time for them. I read this somewhere and loved it; “Respect the person who makes time for you in their schedule, love the person that never looks at the schedule when making time for you.”
Time: How I spend my time matters. This life is not a dress rehearsal. I want to do good work and I want to be present for myself and my tribe. I must not take time for granted.
Resilience: You have no idea what you’re capable of until it’s asked of you. Don’t be afraid of discomfort. You are learning, you are becoming stronger, and chaos is always temporary.
Planning: There is no plan that allows you to escape from life’s happenings. However, you can hedge your bets. If there are major areas of risk, learn how to narrow the margin of impact. There is no need for you to be as vulnerable as we often are.
Laughter: It makes all the difference. I don’t ever want to be in a mental place where I can’t be light enough to laugh. I use it as a gauge to be sure my head is on straight.
Compassion: Lead with love and give others the benefit of the doubt. You never know what someone else is going through behind the scenes.
Choice: Every day we’re given a choice; why not choose joy? I promise when you become a joy hunter the world will show you all of the beautiful possibilities you never knew existed.
Simply put, place value and time in things that can not be replaced, like people and love. Understand that whatever we choose to focus on, will become all we see. And, believe that there is always something beautiful if we choose to look for it and that anything is possible with hard work and a plan.