It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week, and it’s even more hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner. The crazy thing is that this entire year has been going in slow motion and then right after Halloween, poof we are almost at the end of the year. I know many of us are really looking forward to a new year. In fact, have you noticed that all things Christmas have been popping up everywhere? Some folks have already put up their Christmas decorations and lights. You can’t get through a television show without seeing all kinds of ads about Christmas. I have to believe that the ads started running earlier to give folks something to look forward to.
Christmas is my favorite holiday and it always brings a smile to my face. From the holiday beverages from Starbucks, to some of my favorite Christmas movies, The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole, the chocolates, the cookies, the lights, I can go on and on. However, for a lot of people the holidays are hard because of the loss of loved ones. I must admit that the holidays can be challenging for me too as I miss those I’ve lost. But for some reason seeing decorations, the smells, the baked goods just make me feel a bit warm inside.
Let’s face it we could all use a pick me up. One of my friends posted on social media this – “So many people were saying that 2020 was going to be clear vision. The year has most definitely been showing us all who is who. I can see clearly now!” I felt like that post was right on point. Do you remember when we were all so excited about 2020 and everyone was saying things like, “2020 vision” “2020, seeing more clearly.” “2020 – this is MY YEAR!” Well, for some of us 2020 did not disappoint. We were able to have much clearer vision.
A Global Pandemic
This year was unlike any other that I have ever experienced in my lifetime. A Global pandemic pulled the rug out from all of us. COVID-19 touched the lives of many people we all know in some way. Whether it be they got COVID-19 and lived or got COVID-19 and died. And let us not forgot that while a global pandemic was happening, real life did not stop. Social injustice was still happening, people experienced job losses, financial losses, relationship losses and even deaths of loved ones not due to COVID. COVID put a damper on vacation plans and forced us to stay at home and not see our loved ones. Life and COVID had a lot of us in our feelings mentally and emotionally. Unfortunately, some of us had a hard time coping.
If I can be honest, I had some rough patches during COVID too. It was and is hard being away from my family for long periods of time. Like many of you, I was tired of seeing the social injustice that was going on in our country. It was also a challenge having to adjust my lifestyle from doing the things that I normally love to do, like going to lounges, going to concerts, going to certain restaurants/bars, getting massages, going to the gym, having social gatherings at my house. Now, I must be very selective on where I go and who I am around all while being masked up of course. There was a time during COVID that I was tired of looking at my place, I needed a change of scenery I actually thought I was going to have a break-down. The isolation was taking its toll on me. So, I sent out a 911 to my friends and said, “I’m not in a good head space, I need to get out of here.” We ended up doing a weekend staycation at a little villa not far from Atlanta. Let me tell you, that was the best three days. It gave me time to relax, relate and release. I was able to escape mentally and physically. It felt so good.
COVID-19 taught me a lot and helped me think about things differently. It allowed me to recognize what is REALLY important to me and it help me to understand that I really have to find time to take care of my mental health no matter what. Working remote every day, I have to make sure that I switch up my scenery. Switching things up can include taking my laptop and going to a coffee house, taking a quick walk or sitting outside with my favorite beverage (Starbucks) while listening to some tunes in my ear. It really does not matter as long as I take the time to decompress. Sometimes, I just like getting in my car and driving with no destination in mind. COVID-19 also gave me the opportunity to strengthen my spiritual relationship with God, being more intentional about the time I spend with him. Everyday I make time to read my daily devotions and pray. I have never felt closer to God than how I feel now. I find that being consistent with my relationship with Him has made our relationship stronger and made me understand what it means to trust HIM. And not only trusting HIM but trusting the process while on this journey we call life.
Peeling back the layers
Also, during this time, it forced me to peel back the layers of some of my relationships with family and friends. Some of the layers were good and some were a challenge to embrace. However, what I discovered through those layers were not deal breakers, they just showed me who they REALLY were. Now, I know how to navigate my relationships with them going forward. Again, what I learned about some of these individuals was not bad, they were just eye openers into who they really are. Through that, I learned the art of accepting and meeting people where they are.
I also peeled back the layers of myself, my character and how I want to move about the earth. Often, people are afraid of digging deep and doing self-introspections because they are afraid of what they may find. I can tell you, that you may be surprised at what you will discover about yourself. I feel like my self-introspection forced me to be honest about some things in my life and recognized that I am stronger than I thought. I realized that I have a lot more to offer to the world and to the people who are in my life. Another thing that I learned during COVID is that it is never too late to make your dreams come true, it is all about timing. During COVID, I re-launched my book from 10 years ago, I started writing a second book, started a merchandising line, and I helped jumpstart an online talk show. And not only am I the co-host of the show I am one of the executive producers. So, you cannot tell me I have not been productive during COVID. The last thing I learned about COVID that I am thankful for, is that it allowed me the opportunity to foster new relationships and make current relationships even stronger.
In the end I cannot say that 2020 was a bad year, I am going to say that it was a challenging year. Now, I still pray for those who lost loved one because of COVID and those who are still suffering from the after effects of COVID. However, I also feel that if this pandemic did not happen, we would not take a pause to reflect and take stock of what is important. What did you learn from COVID?