Thrive. This is the word I claimed for 2020. I don’t do “resolutions”, but I do appreciate choosing a guiding word for each new year. In some ways it’s almost laughable that, of all years, I chose “thrive” for what has undoubtedly already been one of the more challenging and unpredictable years for many of us… and it’s only April.
It’s also not at all lost on me that it’s been a hot minute since I’ve even managed to piece together a decent blog post to share with you. Which should tell you a little something about how much I’ve been “thriving”.
Honestly? I feel like I chose “thrive” in the most idealistic sense of the word, with arms outstretched. Picture someone skipping carefree across a flowery meadow towards a stunning sunset, skirt billowing around her. Serious “Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music” vibes. This chick is clearly doing exactly what makes her happy. And isn’t that what it’s supposed to mean to thrive? To find that thing that makes you feel the most alive?
Oh, wait… she just tripped on a gopher hole, fell headfirst into a mud puddle, and is now having to drag her ass across that same field in the dark, caked in mud. Oh and there are mosquitos, too. Hello 2020.
That’s a cheesy visual, but the point here is, I have not exactly felt as though I’ve been “thriving” in 2020 – some days, I’m just glad I’m surviving it. And while I do say that with a somewhat tongue-and-cheek half grin, (fully recognizing that someone else will always have it harder or worse and I know I have much to be grateful for), I also do feel a little shell-shocked by all that has transpired in these few short months. Let’s just say, I’m not so much a fan of the first act of 2020; hopefully the second act is better! Are you with me?
Anyway – all jokes aside, it has literally taken me this long to find something to say about my word for the year – “thrive” – in a season where I feel I’m doing almost anything but.
For me, thriving in 2020 was supposed to be about advancing my career; embracing my creative side, and taking more risks. I returned to work after 18 months on a combination of maternity and disability leave (due to my open-heart surgery which you can read about here if you want). I was excited about returning to my teacher and facilitator positions, and reconnecting as part of a professional community.
I was also really excited about all the opportunities popping up in relation to my social media, partnerships, and relationships: opportunities to create and build something of my own. Reasons to travel, speak, and connect with others; to share and inspire/be inspired.
Additionally, as a family, we had some very exciting plans in the works – and everything seemed to be lining up just right for us to have our next big adventure. And if you’ve followed me for any length of time then you know that we absolutely can’t resist a great project or adventure. Not to mention, for the first time in a long time, we were all HEALTHY!
Honestly, I really thought, ok – this is going to be my year! 2018 was plain awful, with the exception of Nora joining the family. And frankly 2019 was a lot about recovering from 2018. Trauma is a tricky thing – both physical and emotional. But 2020 – I was #hereforit. I was that chick skipping through the field… only to trip in the gopher hole. Atleast, that’s how it felt.
It’s a hard thing, to let go of expectations. To change our plans. To let go of the dreams we had, and to stop dwelling on the “what if’s”, “could haves”, and “should haves”. Unmet expectations are truly some of the hardest things to deal with. This quote I once read sums it up perfectly:
“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it was supposed to be.” – – Anonymous
Ugggghhhh. I feel this. And truthfully, I’ve been wallowing in it more than I should. My focus on how I haven’t been “thriving” the way I wanted to be, or imagined I would be, has actually been standing in the way of thriving at all. Or finding a new way to thrive, and creating a new picture for what thriving in 2020 could be.
It’s taken until this last week for me to really stop and focus and re-evaluate. To take stock of the events of 2020 so far, and to widen my lense a little. I’ll admit I’ve had blinders on, more often than not focusing on the disappointments or the unmet expectations.
When the truth is… there have been many sweet victories; beautiful moments that have taken my breath away. Cherished memories have – and are – being made; experiences I never imagined that have touched my heart, and changed me as a person. There have been situations and conversations that have made me stronger, more assertive, and more sure of who I am and what I think/believe. There has been clarity in areas that used to seem foggy. Connections have been made in unlikely circumstances; new friendships forged. There’s been a wealth of unexpected time to spend pouring into the ones we love the most – even those we can’t be in the same room with. I have learned to appreciate so many things – and people – and little moments – that I once took for granted, reminding me often of what really matters in life. I find myself eagerly anticipating what life will look like when this is all over, as opposed to dreading it: what will the take-aways be?
(Above: What I thought thriving in 2020 would look like vs what it actually looks like).
So… with that shift in perspective in mind…. maybe I am thriving? Even if the goals and plans I had laid out when I chose the word aren’t exactly coming to fruition? I have a feeling that my expectations for what it means to thrive in 2020 are going to continue to evolve. But regardless, I’ve decided that I’m still #hereforit.
How are you thriving in 2020?