In December, we asked people to share personal stories of their experience in 2020. Here’s what they had to say:
What 2020 Taught Me
By Lois Milne
Reflecting on 2020, what a year! Fortunately, as of writing, I have been healthy – self isolating, masked up and bored! Early in the pandemic, I thought it was a “forced” time to clean and tidy closets, get those things done around the house that had been waiting. But after a time, these tasks were either complete or irrelevant. My plans for summer, visiting friends and family, were gone until who knows when, leaving me with a “now what” attitude.
Fortunately living in a house with a yard in Gulfport afforded me options that many others did not have. As the stories of the pandemic showed me the devastation in families and communities, I had a growing awareness of how fortunate my situation was.
Realizing that this was going to be the way of life for a while, I was going to need to get on with adjusting to a situation of which I had no control. I dusted off my jigsaw puzzle felt, my camera, purchased a rowing machine and Instant Pot. My thoughts were that these things could entertain and challenge me. I could try and keep my fitness under control while practicing patience. Each of these items were, perhaps similar to others during the pandemic, going to fill my days.
As I look in the “rear view mirror” of this year I find that I came through it. I had done much less than in previous years. I learned new things and gained a renewed appreciation for “living in the moment.” The jigsaw puzzles gave me an appreciation for the folks that make them, and frustrated me in getting them completed. The rowing machine disappointed me in how out of condition I was and challenged me with how hard it was getting back to using it. The camera and the Instant Pot demonstrated that my brain could learn some new skills and gave me an appreciation for those who have mastered them.
But mostly I think my priorities for my time and energy were easier to determine. After all, we know life is short, but in 2020 I learned that it can be really short. And that, more than ever, flexibility and “rolling with the punches” needs to be part of my daily life. As Winnie the Pooh said, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”