Hindsight is 2020

This year, it's more important than ever to take time to reflect. 

What a year it has been. In the spring, when the initial stay-at-home orders were issued, once the initial shock of it lifted, I used some of the newfound free time to interview my 90-year-old grandmother (I wrote about that here). As we talked about her life, she reflected on the country’s response to the pandemic as being reminiscent of her memories of WWII. The way people came together to do what they could, the way people gave to others who needed help, the way we cheered on people on the front lines.

We’ve all been through a lot together. Though it was a challenging and stressful year, it was also a year of tremendous growth and deepened relationships. This was a rare opportunity to go through a hard year alongside everyone else. The communal aspect of going through the stress and the loss all together (though socially distanced) was a gift.

As the year has progressed, it seemed unrelenting at times. Bad news hit at every turn, it seemed. The anxious hum of it all underscored everything, and we all coped as best we could. But, adversity is fertile ground.

At the end of each year, I like to take some time to reflect upon the highlights and the pivotal moments of the year. As I write a chronicle of the year, I think about the important conversations I had, the special moments with our kids, lessons I learned, painful things that were overcome and much more. 

So, while hindsight is “2020,” perhaps we can all take a moment to reflect upon the year: the good and the bad. While there was plenty of tough stuff in 2020, there also was likely plenty of goodness that should be held with equal weight. Below are three questions to consider as we embark upon a new year, filled with hope and potential:

What were the highlights and pivotal moments of each month of this year?

While I’ll go month by month in my own journal, some key moments for me include remote work and learning in the spring, trips to the Lake Erie beaches with our kids this summer, moving our company into our new office in October and celebrating Thanksgiving at home on our own for the first time ever. 

What were the most important conversations you had this year, and with whom?

Dozens of conversations will make my list, but one that I’ll share here was with a friend who I’ve long admired. She’s a content creator whose content has been a fount of wisdom and inspiration for me for years, and after we partnered together on some work this summer and fall, she shared with me how impactful I had been to her through our work together. To be able to return the goodness to someone who has been so influential to me was remarkably fulfilling and encouraging.

What will you leave behind in 2020? 

For some, as you answer this question, you may be leaving behind things you sorely will miss: loved ones, lost jobs, lost relationships. Pay honor to them here, and allow yourself a space to grieve. For others, you may be leaving behind things, ideals or people who are no longer serving you, setting the scene for new endeavors in the new year. 

As you reflect on this year, I hope you are able to find goodness, bid farewell to those things we will leave behind and end this year with gratitude for what it’s taught you, what it’s brought you and what’s to come. Happy New Year. 

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Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.