It never fails. The last 2 days of December I always seem to get some sort of panicky feeling that I have not had enough time to release all that I want to leave behind as I cross over into a new year. That it’s some magical moment when everything will be different and I’ve got to be totally ready. And, surprisingly, even in this pandemic-filled year I feel no different. I need more time. You’d think I’d just want to get the hell out. To shut the door on 2020 forever, never to have to look back on the stress, pain, instability, and suffering of it all. And, sure, it will be sooooo fucking nice to move on. Yet, even given all that has happened this year, to all of us all around the world, I find myself feeling melancholic + nostalgic. And I’m playing the mellowish version of Auld Lang Syne on repeat. What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I not running from 2020?
The thing is, even though I’ve done my fair share of raging (even as soon as this morning), over the past few days of reflecting on the past 12 months, I have found an abundance of blessings as well. In fact, I must be honest with you… I have had way more blessings than not. My suffering, in comparison to others, has been minimal. And, as I close out 2020, I am vastly, deeply aware of the luck I have had. I am leaving 2020 behind without taking for granted one tiny little thing.
Oh, there have been deaths in my family. Heart-breaking separations from my family. A job loss + months of stress for my love + our little home. A complete lack of feelings of routine or stability at my work. The absence of daily life as we’ve known it. And these are all huge, painful things. We have mourned + cried + stressed about it all.
Still, as the new year is upon us, I can only seem to focus on the abundance of blessings. I can literally do nothing but give thanks for 2020 + her lessons for my own little life.
But, then the panic sets in again. Have I really learned anything? What did I learn? Has my life changed? If so, how? Will I do things differently? Have I evolved? Am I aware enough? Do I really know all of the lessons that I have learned? Have I thought through them all? What exactly do I want to release?
The ending of 2020 feels huge. Bigger than the beginning of it – and I remember vividly how I anticipated the beginning of a new era. Too huge for me to handle. Like there’s so much pressure for 2021 to “save us” from 2020.
But, 2021 will not magically change everything in an instant when the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, and neither will the lessons of 2020 be over + done with at the same strike of midnight. The lessons, wisdom, and evolutions from this most harrowing, confusing, revolutionary and mixed-up year will be with me for a while. I will continue to learn as I reflect as the days + months pass. I will continue to gain more perspective as time marches onward. That is evolution. So, I do not have to release + be done with it all today. I don not have to feel that I have to wrap 2020 up neatly in a box, label it, stash it away, and be done with it.
Instead, I will carry the lessons + the pain of 2020 forward with me into the new year. The same injustices, inequalities, and instabilities will remain on January 1. There is no clean slate or do over. There is only the next cycle, the next phase of growth. But, that doesn’t frighten or depress me. In fact, it inspires + comforts me. The journey continues on. And, because of all of the heartache + blessings of 2020, I am more equipped + ready to keep moving forward.
Still, something is ending. Something big is ending. I am not the same person I was at this time last year. None of us are. We’ve raged + matured + weathered much – together + individually. And there are moments to release and leave behind in 2020. Yet, we’re not really leaving anything behind. Instead, we are simply folding it into who we are. All of the memories, pain, suffering, sickness, disappointments and blessings are part of who we are now.
And, shit do I feel different. 2020 has transformed me + I feel like I am emerging from a cocoon. I do not want, nor can I, do things the way they have been done before. But, what that means, I’m not yet quite sure. I think that this is where my intentions for 2021 lie. And, I’m saving a day to think about all of that as I begin to sink into January, but before I head back to work.
So far, I have been giving a lot of thought to my blog + to my work + to the type of life that I am creating with my love. How all of those intersect + where I want to lay my focus in each of those areas, collectively + separately.
2020 gave me the gift of a very slow, intentional, home-based life. Which is totally my jam. I mean, that is how I want to live. With my home as my base, my focus. Simplicity, family, sanctuary. These values are not new to me. But, I lived them in a whole different way this past year. And it just fit.
As for my work in the world. Where do I focus my offerings of medicine + wisdom? At school? On my blog? In a spiritual ministry? Do I create something new, while I continue to work with my young adults? Or do I throw myself into my work at the school with my young adults? I truly don’t know. Do I write? Do I create a digital spiritual community?
And this space. My dearest blog. My companion through so many years. I’m celebrating 10 years in this belovelive space in early 2021. And it may be time to let her go. Or to completely overhaul her. Oh, sure, I’ve redesigned + refocused my blog several times throughout the year. But, I may need to move on. Close this chapter once + for all. Release it.
But, I’m not sure if I’m ready to say goodbye. Or if I even should. So, do I create that spiritual collective on this website? Do I return to simple everyday life blogging? Do I do both? Here – or on separate spaces? Though, truthfully, I know that is not sustainable with my work outside the home.
I think my initial freak out at the beginning of this post was a combination of things. One was that, as I started this post, I felt like I needed to release all that I have learned + know what I want as I enter 2021 at midnight tomorrow. I needed to know the answers to all of the questions I just posed. I mean, if 2020 taught me so fucking much, then why don’t I have answers? Why do I have the same questions?
But… I don’t have to know shit. Moving into 2021 is not one, big, wild magical moment; but a beautiful, quiet unfolding. A slow, silent release of slipping from one calendar day to another, no different than any Monday slipping into Tuesday. I think it’s the fireworks + celebrations + champagne + parties that give us a false sense of a Big Bang.
But, 2020’s pandemic has forced us to halt all of that big, flashy stuff. It has stripped us down to the most basic, simple things and given us a whole new appreciation for the tiny things in life. New Year’s Eve this year ought not be the same as usual – and for most of us, it will not be. Instead of being depressed + pissed about that, though, I’d like for us to see it as a gift. A chance to quietly lay 2020 behind us and to continue our journey into 2021 knowing that dawn brings the same new hope that we receive every new day that we are alive.
The other thing that has caused my feelings of panic is this constant wondering, “what do you want?”. I’m sorry you guys, but my life isn’t about you. And sometimes I forget that. So, I know I need to release that self-pressure.
The parts of 2020 that I loved, those blessed moments, were the ones in which I was simply embodying my most authentic, wise, natural spirit. It was my backyard wanderings. My mornings of coffee + writing + meditation. My walks with my love. My photography. My creation of the rhythm of the seasons. My written reflections on the pandemic. My conversations with my mom. My backyard hangs with my love + long, Saturday mornings in bed. It was the books, podcasts, videos, and music that inspired my soul. It was gathering at the kitchen table + gazing out the window. It was observing nature + exploring places nearby.
What lies ahead for me in 2021 is a mystery. But, it is my story to write. My life to life. My choices to make. And, having come through 2020, I am certain that I know more about who I am + how I want to live. And there are no big, huge plans to make. No pressure to feel. There is only to stay close to my soul. To live from one day to the next. To choose to be present in every sacred moment that will come my way – the tough ones + the breathtaking ones. To follow the rhythms of nature. To just do me.
And with those thoughts, I feel like I can release my panic of releasing 2020.
Dear souls, here’s to wishing you a sacred, mystical crossing over the threshold from this most different year + into a deeper, calmer, stronger way of living your absolute truth from your soul. And here’s to traveling on, making this world a better place once day at a time – together.
Happy New Year! xoxo liz
Oh Liz, you captured 2020 so well in your phrase “release the panic.” That’s what I plan to do, too, Thanks for putting it into words. Wishing you and Lina a joyful New Year! 🙂 ~Terri
Excellent! Good and healing thoughts to yous.