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Wednesday 23 December 2020

It was the year 2020


We all know that 2020 has been a rough year. We were faced with our own mortality, took a financial knock and many of us lost people close to us due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We experienced different levels of lockdown, living and learning online and we were exposed to media sensations. We questioned our governments and some of us turned into conspiracy theorists. But as I look back on my 2020, I realized that among all the losses experienced and fears faced, I also gained new perspectives about my priorities and what is really important in my life.

The importance of connection

We teachers literally had only a couple of weeks of school to connect with the new children in our class, before lockdown came into existence and forced us to learn to connect online. I was incredibly thankful that we did have these few weeks of being together at the start of the year, as it made it much easier to maintain my connection with my little people online. But I missed the direct interaction and found adapting to this different way of connecting challenging. On the home front my hubby, our two boys and I created a new routine for us and made connecting a priority during this vulnerable time. We cherished every day, deliberately made special memories and purposefully made connecting with each other a priority.

Self-care is very personal

It might seem to just be the new craze, but there really is so much value to it. We get swallowed up by our busy lives and we forget to stop, breathe and speak kindly to ourselves. Granted, self-care can also cause more stress (which totally defeats the purpose) when we feel that we are falling short and judge ourselves or others for not making time for self-care. But I realized that self-care is a very personal act and that it will take different forms for every human being. Your self-care practices have to adapt to who you are and the life you live. Your self-care must suit your lifestyle and it must feed your needs. For some of us self-care might be a long shower or bath and for others cooking or reading. It may even be just taking a deep breath and exhaling it slowly with our eyes closed or visiting with our best friend once a week. It might be phoning your sister, playing a board game with your children or taking the dog for a walk. I realized this year that self-care is not about what activity I am doing, how frequently I get to practice it or even for how long I am doing it. For me it is about having that moment, where I can pull myself towards myself and take a conscious breath.

Polarity of change

Change is inevitable and it is not always easy. At times it can feel like a curve ball that has hit you between the eyes. I think that feeling overwhelmed by change, was a universal experience, that we all had to roll with this year and will likely continue to face next year. Dealing with such a large scale of change that impacted every facet of our professional and personal lives has been challenging. Everyone’s jobs were affected in different ways. Some of us lost our jobs, some of us created new jobs and some of us learned new skills as we were forced to adapt the way we do our jobs. We also had to change the way we interact with others and were faced with the significant changes brought about by losing loved ones. It is easy to get lost in the long list of changes we did not want and did not like this year. But I acknowledge that there has also been positive changes that helped us become far more conscious of our health and our environment. Our way of life has changed and our perceptions and level of appreciation has changed too. We might not always have control of the changes that come our way and at times they might temporarily throw us off balance. Ultimately, the only choice we have is how we respond to it and I realized how important this choice is, as our children are watching and learning from us every step of the way.

Family is priceless

My family… my tribe… my favourite people… This year reminded me of the incredible importance of family and to not take my people for granted. It reminded me to cherish them, love them and protect them. It reminded me that to be right or win an argument is really not that important. And it reminded me that making special memories with the people I love, will last me a life time.


So as I reflect on 2020, I choose to focus on what I have gained this year and hope that I will never forget to adapt, connect, cherish my family and close my eyes while exhaling.

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