Do you find yourself dwelling on “what could have been” this year?
I’ve always been a believer in letting the past stay in the past, and I try not to dwell on missed opportunities or things that go wrong. Of course, in a year like 2020, that’s much easier said than done. When I find myself slipping into “dwelling mode,” I shift my mindset towards reflection, and I encourage you to do the same. Dwelling will have you spinning your wheels, while reflecting helps lay a new foundation for a strong 2021.
Reflecting on 2020: Remembering the Positive
There’s a running joke in my office that we’re on “March, Day 300.” That’s because the pandemic has played havoc with our sense of time. As many of us continue working from home, our days have run together, impacting our ability to form distinct memories. We’ve altered vacation plans and our holiday celebrations look very different this year. Without many of our traditional annual hallmarks, it’s easy to feel like time is both standing still and flying by. That makes it even more critical to focus on the positive experiences we’re having.
Recently, I spoke with a friend. They acknowledged 2020 has been tough, but then told me something interesting. “If you think about week to week, there were victories and positive things, and those are the things you have to really hold onto. What was good about the year?
For example, my 14-year-old dog recently died, which was a heartbreaking experience. But you know what? As a result of the pandemic, I got to spend the last seven months of her life by her side every day.
I’ve also gotten to better know my neighbors. The pandemic has made our community more cohesive as everyone comes together, and that’s something special.
Recharging Before the New Year
Many of us have been operating in crisis mode for months. We’re emotionally frayed and the typical outlets we’d have to recharge – spending time with friends and family, going on vacation – aren’t the same this year.
These are three ways I’ve been recharging, and they’re helping me better reflect and prepare for the year ahead.
My neighborhood is one of the oldest in Dallas. When I go outside, I’ll see families walking their dogs or pushing a stroller, and really cherishing their time together.
When you find yourself dwelling on what’s gone wrong, take a break from the computer and phone and go for a quick 10 or 15-minute stroll to clear your head.
Start a home garden
Are you cooking more this year? Even though some restaurants have reopened, spending time at home has given us the opportunity to fulfill our chef dreams — or at least try a few new recipes
Take that cooking interest to the next level with a home garden. I have a hobby greenhouse where I’m growing some vegetables and spices, but I’m also using it to grow flowers. Who doesn’t like looking at a gorgeous bouquet?
Host a socially distant block party
This one is more ambitious — but it sure is tons of fun!
Earlier this year, my neighbor across the street hired a jazz band to play in their front yard on a Saturday. Even through our masks, we were laughing and singing along. There was grilling and ice chests with beers and sodas. People saw the band playing as they drove by, parked their cars at home, and walked back over to join the festivities.
That day, we focused on what was good instead of what was so bad. We all have pandemic fatigue, our routines have been upended, and we’re not doing the things we normally do. Yet we’re still getting to experience things we probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and that’s worth celebrating.