2020 was a tough year. Whether you merely survived or managed to thrive, 2020 took more out of you than other years. Each of us has a story to tell coming out of 2020 and the endings to some have not been written yet. Most of us know someone by now who did not beat their fight with COVID-19. Most of us know someone who lost their job or business in the last 10 months. Most of us know someone who has and may still be struggling to put food on their family’s table, clothes on their backs, and peace in their loved ones’ minds and hearts.
2020 has brought out the best and worst in people across the world. We all know someone who refuses to wear a mask regardless of the risk they pose to others. We all know someone who chooses to selfishly defy protective measures rather than demonstrate compassion and respect for those vulnerable members of our communities. But we also know many who have sacrificed personal comforts and routine luxuries to soften the pain endured by others during this time of turmoil.
If you are like me, then your mood swings from day to day. I find it easier to stay positive and hopeful on some days and harder on others. I have come to terms that it is an unrealistic expectation of me and others to march through each moment with a smile and carefree attitude. It is perfectly fine during a time like this to adjust your mode of operation and not be so hard on yourself and others when they just cannot keep it all together.
One thing I tell my teenagers when I hear words that tear down rather than build up is that everyone’s 100% level of excellence is different. For example, when it comes to drive and innovation, Elon Musk’s 100% may be my 80%. Some people simply have the mental, spiritual, and physical capacity and capability to do and deal with more. And it is the duty of these high-capacity individuals to do and deal with more while gracefully serving those who may not be able to handle as much. It is not a matter of being better than anyone else that affords you the extra bandwidth of excellence, it is a matter of being different than others…for whatever reason. Our differences are blessings and talents that afford graceful service.
Some people cannot get past their perceptions of injustice when it comes to our inherent or cultivated differences. All of us fall prey to the negativity that accompany behaviors or feelings associated with any one of the seven deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth). This is why we are humans and not divine creatures. We are not perfect. We are all flawed, broken souls just trying to do the best we can with our capabilities and capacities.
The easiest thing to do when you are unhappy and things are not going your way is to look for excuses, blame others, play the victim, curse what we do not have, envy what others do have, turn an apathetic eye to our lives and those of our loved ones. We love to own our happiness and contentment – I did that, I earned that, I am all that! But we hate to own our lives when they do not match with our dreams and expectations – why was that done to me, I deserve more and better, I am not the problem.
Well, life is not fair, and life is very messy.
But life is amazing, and it always helps when you choose to own your life – both its ups and downs. Play the cards you’re dealt, stay in the game, and give lady luck a chance. Do hard things, look to learn, be more, and do more. Smile, be kind, and serve others with grace and mercy. When your battery is low, rest, recharge, relax, and reflect.
2021 is going to be better than 2020 for some. I would like to say it will be better for all, but bad things happen regardless of what the calendar says. So, as you bid 2020 a fond farewell, please remember what this past year taught you, please remember the pain and joy endured across the globe, and please remember the power of perspective – from your vantage point as well as from the shoes of others…especially those less fortunate.
I wish you a safe and happy 2021!