2021 is a ‘BOUNCE BACK’ Year

We made it! 2020 is a wrap! Who knew we’d learn so much about things like viruses, vaccines or herd immunity. The journey of 2020 has definitely been one of upheaval, a continuous emotional roller coaster. We can probably all relate to the emotional upheavals of the past year. There has been denial, certainly anger, likely bargaining, and if we’ve become a bit fixated with COVID stats and news reports, we may have felt depression creeping in. For me, most certainly some morose moods and lapses of energy. And, along with that, if at times begrudgingly and with some resignation, there’s been acceptance of the challenges of 2020.

The December 31st roll over of the calendar shifts the view to new hope for 2021. With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, you’ve probably seen the quote: “don’t look back, we’re not going that way” (author Marcia Wallace).  It seems a perfect time to shed the shortcomings of 2020. But, let’s shift that view of “don’t look back” just a bit. Look back enough to consider letting go of old habits or patterns that just won’t serve us well going forward. The stressors of the past year may have brought to light long standing patterns we’re better off without. Or, there may be things that have served us well in the past, but are just not a good fit for the changed world of 2021.

Let’s also look back to consider the ‘ups’ of the roller coaster ride of 2020. Let’s find our strengths. What were the things that helped us persevere? What kept us connected to our purpose and well-being? When did we experience optimism, satisfaction and joy?

2020 has given us pause to notice the significant and most important things in our own lives and a chance to balance our needs with a focus on the common good. There have been strengths to tap into, habits to revisit and hold on to and innovation borne of necessity and adaptation. Here were some of the highlights for me:

  • Reach out to others. We are social beings, all in need of belonging. Find ways to reach past the isolation of narrowed social events or ‘lock down’ to connect with others, 
  • Be kind, “kindness is not only contagious, it is good for the heart, slows ageing, makes us happier and improves relationships” (author, former pharmaceutical scientist Dr. David Hamilton),  
  • Learn to sit with others who hold opposing views and still be kind. Is it just me or did “for’ and ‘against’ take on a new status this past year? We stress diversity and inclusion, yet differences, rivalry, contrarians often provoke judgement rather than thoughtful consideration. Let’s move beyond influencing techniques designed to change or sway people to our way of thinking, beyond derision or heated debate TO curiosity and interest in what others’ have to offer, collaboration and respectful, peaceful dialogue,   
  • Consider the needs of others. In an individualistic, competitive world, we can spend much time seeking to maintain or improve our own position or status. Dewitt Jones, professional photographer, writer and public speaker, shares it beautifully when he says: “Strive to be, not just the best in the world, but the best for the world”, and
  • Be positive. Despite hardship, adversity and loss, lean into the things that bring you joy and gratitude. Setbacks are temporary. Struggles are part of life and learning. Count your blessings, notice your strengths, learn new skills and don’t be too hard on yourself.    

“The times of greatest disruption can produce the times of greatest change” (adapted from Deepak Chopra). 2020 has been disruptive. It has also been a time for introspection, change and resilience.  2021 presents the opportunity to shift our views, to bounce back with hope and optimism and to shape the future with new insight. 

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