Good Riddance, or Thank You, 2020?

The general consensus has been to rid our lives of this awful year. This year that has brought so many of us to a point of exhaustion, frustration, and many, many tears.

Shall we recap? No, I don’t think so. You don’t need me to remind you of pandemics, lives lost, imprisonment in our homes, political and social injustice and frustration, financial burdens, and all else that has been packed into this year. I think we can all agree we have been effected in at least one way this year by global and national events.

Honestly, I’m not here, writing, to dig up all the mishaps we hope to leave behind in the new year. Not at all, in fact.

Today, I want to say thank you to everything 2020 has given me, and hopefully inspire you to see the good this year has given you as well.

Let’s start with one of the momentous things this year was meant to bring for me and my fellow nurses. The year 2020 was the year of the nurse! Many of us are exhausted, warn and burnt out more than we could have ever imagined possible. This year has been the hardest on nurses in living history (emphasis on living because I cannot imagine what generations past went through during events such as the Spanish flu).

So, it may seem like this year royally sucked for nurses. But, do you know what else has happened? The role of the nurse is more known. The general public now understands what a nurse goes through on any and every given shift. The public came together and showed respect for the medical field, and honored all that cared for patients. If that isn’t the best possible outcome for the year of the nurse, I don’t know what is.

Now, let’s zone in on our busy lives for a moment. How many of us have struggled for years to find time to read a book, to pursue a hobby, to spend time with our children and just be present in life? I’d be remise to say I felt overwhelmed by the constant go, go, go of our family and society.

This year, I was gifted the opportunity, along with everyone else in our nation, to dismiss the constant need to go and do things, and to be content with being at home. Of course, for those of us who are lucky, there’s still work. But we’ve been given permission to sit still for a while, and to learn to enjoy the presence of family while not trying to keep up with The Jones’s. What an honorable gift this is!

Much of our political and social environment has been in upheaval. It has put stress and strain on us as a society and as individuals. And, as a nation we have learned how to express ourselves as individuals. We have learned to speak our minds. We have learned that our voice does matter. And that we can instill change.

For me, I’ve also learned a lot about myself when faced with so much discomfort. I’ve made this point before, and I will again: we grow most when we are uncomfortable, as comfort is the enemy of growth. I’ve lived this every day this year, and many others have as well. I’ve pushed boundaries and explored possibilities. I’ve learned where I hold value in my career and in my life. I’ve found new heights in my passion, which, if you haven’t caught on, is writing. I’ve discovered my voice, and when I should use it. And I’ve found how much I want to have coveted family time with my husband and children.

This world may be a mess, but I believe within the pile of rubble we can find treasure. For me, I say thank you 2020 for helping me find who I am in the midst of disaster, hardship, and uncertainty.

And, to 2021; I do hope you can lead all of us further down our paths of enlightenment. Help us recover and build now that we’ve broken away all the unnecessary things that encumbered us. Help us to heal our losses, which for many of us, includes the loss of loved ones. And please, help us find a state of more health, less illness and death, and more freedom.

Happy New Year everyone!

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