Holiday decorating meets survivor humor

It’s the 2020 Holiday season. Every year I buy an ornament for our tree, and I’ve decided to veer away from our standard Star Wars collectible.  I’ve seen a score of 2020 gag ornaments, all of which have made me laugh. They range from a roll of toilet paper, to Dr Fauci’s head, to a masked Santa. My personal favorite, however–a dumpster on fire. 

Clearly, we’ve had a hell of a year.  We’re incorporating its events into our holiday decorations to bring a little levity to our lives. But I’ll spare you the 2020 recap. If you can’t remember what’s happened…just look at the ornaments.

Why I hated on 2020

This was supposed to be a great year for me. I’d been looking forward to 2020 for some time since it marked my 40th birthday and my 5th wedding anniversary. But due to Covid-19, my Ireland vacation got waylaid, and my milestone b-day celebration devolved into carryout and a  movie on Amazon Prime. 

I felt pretty sorry for myself. 

Lest you think that missing a vacation constitutes trauma in my life–not so.  The big things also found me: unemployment, hospitalization, relationship problems, a lawsuit, and other Corona accoutrements.

I kept looking around for Ashton Kutcher–was I being Punk’d?  

Since I didn’t see him or Candid Camera, I got in the habit of blaming anything that went wrong on 2020. If I couldn’t get an appointment scheduled… It’s 2020!   I gained weight...It’s only because of quarantine!   Stubbed my toe? That is the 2020ist shit I’ve EVER heard of!  What else could I do? Screaming into pillows wasn’t helping, and I wanted to kick the door in. (Or rather, out. We were all inside.)

When I look at a half-full glass, I just assume dump it out and fill it with whiskey. I didn’t want to hear meaningless platitudes, or suffer one more pet-centric ‘We’re-In-This Together’ meme. I’m clearly no Pollyanna.

But last week the absolute WORST thing happened.

Someone forwarded me an inspirational GIF.  I rolled my eyes even as I clicked on it.  It read, “Don’t Cancel the Year that Woke You Up.” That stopped me dead in my proverbial tracks.

 I started thinking about the last 12 months not as torture exacted upon us by mythical deities, but rather as a diagram on which I plotted moments of growth. Then I realized those moments, when added together, turned into some real self-awareness which only happened because of the dumpster fire of 2020.

What 2020 taught me

Here are a few specific areas where I was schooled:

I learned from every rejected resume and ‘botched’ interview–I was that much closer to finding the right position. And I eventually did. (Thanks Kym! You made the right choice!)

I learned that with work, vulnerability, and a willingness to admit when I royally screwed up, that I could repair damaged relationships. 

I had to step up to the plate and be the caretaker and support system for a sick loved one.  When my emotions were raw and my energy was depleted, I dug deep and found the strength to carry on. I didn’t know I could do that. 

I came into new self-awareness through the horrible deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. My eyes were opened to the systemic racism and social injustice in our country, and I finally was able to see my white privilege. Their deaths were senseless, but they were not futile. 

I learned it’s possible to actually talk with people on all sides of the political spectrum. I found that most people just want to be heard. That means I have to shut up. 

More than anything else, I got reacquainted with my inner grit.

It wasn’t because I wanted to.  I didn’t ask for the cornucopia of Covid-19 trials–none of us did. But I got through it thus far. 

  • I needed to run out of toilet paper in March, to be who I am in December. 
  • I needed to take some professional risks to grow my portfolio and broaden my experience.
  • I needed the pressure and anxiety of the unknown to learn mindfulness and stay in the moment. 

Take another look

So, I’m choosing from here on out to reframe how I look at 2020. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to write a pop ballad about it. I can’t have my reputation tarnished with anything too warm and fuzzy, but I can see the good that was born from the pain and heartache.

I still have to buy a 2020 ornament for the LeMaster household.  Jury’s out on what kind I’ll get, but maybe I’ll draw a smiley face on the back.

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What about you? How has 2020 changed you? Tell us in the comments!

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