We're SO ready to have this year behind us. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, 2020!
But even with the pandemic, the election, protests, isolation, job loss, toilet paper shortages, Tiger Kings, and comfort-food weight gain, we've learned valuable lessons.
After being laid off in June, I've had six months of unemployment, applied for nearly 100 jobs (with only two interviews), and felt my self-worth absolutely tank. But I also made play and rest a priority. I hiked, read, napped, cooked, walked, went to the park, rolled down a hill, and spent hours learning new things.
Finding the silver lining in a cloud of nuclear waste has been a challenge, but here are a few things I hope to carry with me through 2021 and beyond.
We need each other. I'm a die-hard introvert. I avoid parties. Making small talk is torture. Mingling is akin to waterboarding. But even I have missed human interaction. I started sending handwritten cards to people who influenced my life. I began making heartfelt comments on my friends' social media posts. I let people know I missed them. Maybe when we're out of our cocoons, I'll be a little more social. Maybe.
Hate solves nothing. I've spent way too much time raging on social media, even if it's only in my mind. Before 2020, I don't remember hating anyone. This year changed that, and I didn't like it. My anger and rage at the inefficiency and callous response by our leaders left me breathless. It also kept me up at night, gave me a headache, and tanked my energy. I've learned hatred only attracts hatred. The world needs more love. That's a place to start in 2021.
We must work together. As the pandemic tore through the United States, I was appalled at the lack of caring demonstrated by so many people. India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, has had half the cases and half the deaths of our country. Why? They took the virus seriously and did what they needed to stop the spread. We could face a new pandemic in the future. It could be more deadly than COVID. This was a trial run to show us the consequences of selfish behavior and inactive leadership. We have to work together with love, not judgment, to come out of this stronger than before.
We need to heal division. White/black, democrat/republican, men/women, cats/dogs, Coke/Pepsi - America is divided. Until we address and heal our divisions, we will never move forward in a productive way. A first step to healing is to listen. We're really shitty at that. Our position is right. Others are wrong. There is no discussion. Let 2021 be a time where we start having hard conversations with those we disagree with. We have too much to lose to keep widening the breach.
As I work on these four things in 2021, I'm hoping by the end of the year I've created a more wholehearted life where I practice love, acceptance, kindness, listening, cohesion and forgiveness. Now's a good time to start.
Peri Kinder is a Happiness Coach, Certified Yoga Teacher, Meditation Instructor and Humor Columnist.