This year was filled with inconsistencies. We faced crushing isolation and learned that we needed each other. We missed our families and found new ways to connect. We found new ways to work. We found new ways to live.
Some of us were lucky. We didn't lose a loved one to the pandemic. We didn't get sick or if we did, we got better quickly. We still get to work. Our parties may be tiny, but there is a nice meal waiting for us on our holy days.
Others had a year filled with loss and grief and pain. Loved ones caught the virus and got seriously sick or died. Many lost their jobs. Others lost their businesses and had to lay off long-time employees. Many don't know how they'll pay their next rent, their next mortgage, their most basic bills.
Any time I complain of not having my favorite movie outings, not teaching face-to-face, not seeing colleagues at the office, I remember what I was spared. And, as I reflect on this crazy year and think of the next one, I remember the lessons I learned.
Funny. As I look at my list I see nothing about "being productive," or "writing more papers" or "becoming a better professional." My list is about strengthening my bonds with fellow humans, it's about caring and living and breathing.
So what about next year? Will we immediately forget what we went through and go back to business as usual?
I hope not. I hope 2021 becomes the year I choose to embrace and treasure life - just being alive. I hope I remember what mattered. I hope I remember to breathe.
Happy New Year, fellow humans. Happy Year of Life.
About the Author
Dr. Cris Wildermuth is an Assistant Professor at Drake University, where she coordinates and teaches at the Master of Science in Leadership Development.