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Calm in the Chaos

2020 Hindsight Is 2021 Foresight


Because I believe an intentional life is the best life, I want to take lessons from 2020 into 2021. Here's a few of them.
Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum

by Jamie Spannhake

January 03, 2021


Calm in the Chaos

2020 Hindsight Is 2021 Foresight


Because I believe an intentional life is the best life, I want to take lessons from 2020 into 2021. Here's a few of them.

by Jamie Spannhake

January 03, 2021


Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum

Everyone is doing a "what I learned from 2020" post, and at the risk of being redundant, I feel it is important to think about what I learned. Any new year is a good time to reflect as it provides a definite line in time to assess and re-assess, make changes or stay the course, and plan for the future. 

An intentional life is the best life.

So what did I learn?

First, I don't have control and that's okay. In case we didn't know it before, we don't have control. Things in 2020 often changed in big ways on a daily basis. There was so much not in my control, that I was finally able to just not try to control things. I've heard that some people who suffer with anxiety (like me) were actually calmed by the lockdowns and quarantines because there was nothing we could do about it. That was my experience as well. 

Don't get my wrong. It wasn't enjoyable and the continuous news cycle of bad news was disheartening, but knowing that I couldn't control anything other than my own actions relieved me of the need to try to control other things.

Second, sometimes we just gotta embrace the suck. Times are tough. Things aren't going my way. Global pandemics suck. And that's that. We handled it. We mostly survived. It hasn't been fun, but we will come out the other side. Whatever happens, we will deal with it.

Third, humor heal many wounds. By the time we got to Christmas Eve, we were approaching the end of this very long 2020. But before we could usher it out the door, we had another big rain and wind storm here in the Northeast, and lost our power at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning. If you live in a rural area like me, you know that losing power doesn't just mean you are without lights, which is not such a big deal. No, it means you don't have water and can't flush your toilet or wash your dishes. I have a well, and without power, there is no working well pump, and thus no water. But most troubling on this Christmas morning was not opening Santa gifts by candle light (which was fine); it was that, without power, we have no connection to the outside world. We live in a rural town without cell service. So no power means no cell, no phone, no Facetime or Zoom.

My daughter's dad was out of town with work. Our cousins weren't able to travel to us for the holidays. And grandparents haven't been visited since November 2018! For us, the one thing that was making Christmas bearable was that we would be able to Zoom together to open gifts. All I could do was laugh. Really?! No family, no travel, no friends, and now no connectivity!

Lastly, and most importantly, I learned just how much I have to be grateful for. Many people had so little this holiday season: too little food, too little cheer, too little family, too little work, too little money for gifts. We are fortunate. I have everything I need. No matter what I lost this past year, I didn't lose anything that truly matters.

Here's to a better year! It may start the same as 2020, but it won't end the same!

Cheers, and be well!

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