Did you ever wonder if the last year was going to end? Think about it. 2020 was a year that tested each and every one of us in one way or another. I started out thinking 2020 was going to be my year. A year I planned to accomplish a lot. The truth is…I did, just not the things I had planned on. I’ve decided to call 2020 a year of discoveries because the lessons I’ve learned this past year far outweigh any accomplishments I had planned.

Life Lessons for the pandemic and crazy year ❤️

It’s a good thing to set goals. We all have dreams. Dreams are what make us move forward and setting goals helps make that happen. Just don’t set everything in stone because as many of us have discovered in 2020, God has a way of letting us know he is in control, not us. I used to have everything written down. Step one, step two, step three, along with dates and master plans. 2020 taught me things don’t always follow the timeline. Sometimes you just have to go with it and have a little (or a lot) of faith.

Everyone weathers the storms differently. Some stay calm and some freak out. Some people get angry, emotional, stoic, judge mental and crazy. I found out that a pandemic can really bring out the ugly in some people and it bring out amazing compassion in others. We need to do what’s right for us instead of deciding what everyone else is doing wrong. Fear is powerful but love is even stronger.

In the spirit of being forced into not working for a few months, I’ve learned I really do have more than enough. I started cleaning out drawers, cupboards, closets, any place I sort of let the stuff pile up. I’m trying to embrace a more minimalistic approach in life. (Let’s call that a work in progress.) If it wasn’t useful in the life I’m trying to lead, I let it go. I donated, sold or simply gave the stuff I didn’t need or want, away. I learned the less I have, the easier it is to make a decision. It also makes me much calmer being surrounded by simplicity rather than clutter. And it was great to find others that could use the stuff I didn’t need. Repurpose, reuse and recycle. it’s a win-win.

Staying home has made me appreciate the solitude I used to fear. It’s made me take a hard look at myself and who I chose to spent my time with. I was constantly on the go. There was someplace to be literally every single day. When the state first shut everything down, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was a wreck. Slowly, over a few weeks, I came to really like this new pace. I took naps in the afternoon and walked my dogs in the early morning. I spent hours outside working in my yard. I paddleboarded, I read and I wrote a bit. I learned I didn’t miss the pace I had been living, not at all. I also didn’t miss the negativity, the pessimism and the judgement I was experiencing from some of the people I had been hanging out with. The more weeks that passed in lockdown, I learned who took the time to check on others, just to see if they needed anything or to let them know someone cared. I learned who I genuinely missed and who I did not. That’s a harsh one. One of those kind of life lessons that really hurts. But I also learned that when you let go of those people in your life that are not good for you right now, it creates room for God to bring in new friends. It’s that faith thing again. Trusting God to know what’s best.

I took the time for self care. Taking long walks and going for hikes through many of the parks scattered around the area that I had never explored. Meditation and daily yoga, lots of sleep and experimenting with new recipes that I never had time to try. I hit the farmers market at 6:30 am every weekend, getting there early enough so social distancing wouldn’t be an issue. I found the greatest local meat markets for the best chicken and steaks. Shopping local whenever possible.

Going into 2021, in spite of crazy year we just finished, I’m optimistic on so many levels. I’m calmer than I’ve been in years. I’m happy and I look at life a little different because of the lessons 2020 taught me. I am surrounded by wonderful people and each day, I will try to do the best I can with what I am given. Remember, like attracts like. If you want good things in your life, give good things back. Treat others as you want to be treated, be kind, be compassionate, forgive and give. Give until it hurts and then give some more, give of yourself. It always comes back.

Let’s make 2021 the year of Kindness. Let’s make 2021 Magical

XOXO. Sidney Parker