As I look back at 2020 and try to apply the practice of gratitude for it… I’m not struggling much. Somehow, 2020 was the worst and best year of my life. It’s been wild from start to finish.
Why I’m grateful for 2020
This time last year, I was having one of the worst depressive episodes I have ever had. Then I was having them again six months later in the summer. I was so exhausted, emotionally, physically, and mentally. My life had no value to me or the person that I loved with all my heart. I couldn’t let go, and I couldn’t move forward. It felt like being trapped in hell.
Then there was the pandemic. At first, I believed that the media was just doing what it always does. Inflating the numbers to create a panic, like they usually do with hurricanes and that one time we had that Ebola scare years ago. But then, it became real once I left my residential treatment center. And it became more and more real as the death toll climbed and climbed with no end in sight.
It was a sobering moment when my grandmother passed away this summer, not from complications from Covid-19, but just old age. She was in her nineties and time’s arrow marched forward. I felt just as helpless and scared as everyone in the world because I couldn’t do anything but watch her wake online. It was a really scary time when the first lockdowns happened, but there wasn’t much else to do except hunker down and wait it out.
And something so beautiful came out of that time. Fear turning to anger. Attachment turning into breaking free. Unrequited love turning into self-love. And shame and regret turning into acceptance and opportunity.
That transformation was unexpected and so necessary. My trauma bonds were destroyed and the broken woman that I was before… well, I think she did exactly what she had wanted to do all along. Disappear. The woman that stood up from the flames and destruction that was her old life at the end of this year is not the woman that was curled in the fetal position waiting and wishing for her life to come back to her.
Why 2020 was the best year of my life
2020 has been a year of creating happiness within, rejecting my old mindset and patterns of behavior, and learning to stand up for myself. It’s impacted everything. My relationship with my parents, with myself, and with new people that have come into my life. It’s incredible, really. There’s still a transition period with my parents right now because they don’t like that I’m no longer submissive and allowing myself to be treated badly. I realized my worth, and I’m not accepting anyone trying to make me feel worthless anymore. I can’t be made to feel worthless, and I will not ever again. My ex-fiancé was cut out of my life completely after lying to me one last time. Eventually, the love and connection with him that I craved was not at the forefront of my mind. I finally saw and accepted the truth about who he was rather than continuing to love and believe in the person that I thought he was. As for my relationship with myself? I take myself on dates, I have a daily self-love ritual, and I don’t allow anyone into my life that’s going to upset or take any of that away.
I created an online support system by reaching other women and a few men with my blog and social media accounts. It’s amazing to have people around the world that are all from different walks of life but all wanting the same thing: to help others and connect.
2020 was the year that I learned that I could ask for help and people would actually help. That’s something that’s been severely lacking in my life. I would help everyone around me, but I rarely asked for help, because I didn’t think I’d receive it. I asked for help, advice, and more, and the outpouring of help usually had me in tears afterward. I never expected the world to be kind.
2020 was the year that I learned just how abundant love and kindness was in the world. That is the best thing that could have ever happened to me (or really anyone) during the year from hell.
Yes, I had my setbacks and moments of weakness. If I could guess, I’d say I might’ve cried about a gallon of tears this year. That’s a part of any healing journey. If you can see from all my posts from last year, it was a very up and down process. But learning to appreciate that and not to push down or bottle up any emotions became such a blessing. Going through it, instead of avoiding or trying to go around it allowed me to heal. And all of those tears weren’t from depression. A lot of them were from being overwhelmed by the kindness and understanding of others.
It really amazed me, and there was sadness in the realization that I had usually surrounded myself by people that were neither kind nor understanding. Now I know there’s a completely different world of people out there.
One of the best things that happened was winning that award for blogging. Had it not been for a good friend and blogging coaching encouraging me to continue after accidentally deleting all of my posts, I never would have kept going. I was ready to give up, but then I found out the impact of my words, choices, and actions. I am so grateful for everyone that found their way into my life this year. And I’m also grateful for those that found their way out.
I don’t know that I’d change anything about 2020. Yes, of course, I wish there wasn’t a global pandemic and that so many lives were not lost. I wish there wasn’t so much shared pain around the world. But those things were completely out of my control. It’s not something I could change.
This year has been incredible. As for 2021, I have high expectations. I want to continue to share my lessons, love, and light from 2020. It’s been such a roller coaster, and I got off better than I went on. That’s all I could really ask for, right?
What is one small goal you hope to achieve in 2021?
What part of 2020 are you most grateful for?
What happened to you in 2020 that you will never forget?