2020 a year like no other......

Over the winter holidays, we continued our family routine of earl(ish) daily morning walks. On one of the walks, I initiated a game of what have you learnt as a result of the pandemic that you value. We had a lot of fun and passed a good hour or so. Since that conversation, I’ve spent some more time reflecting on 2020 and how it’s shaped me, my relationships with family, friends, colleagues and my work, and what if anything I want to take forward into 2021?

As I sit here looking at time stretching ahead of me and the heightened uncertainty that Covid is generating. Rather than being plunged into a really tempting lethargy and sense of stagnation matching the cold, wet, winter weather outside, I thought I’d put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

So here goes:

1) Slow down to speed up — I struggle with uncertainty. My preference is to make plans, lists, know where, when, what, how and execute swiftly! But I’m learning to take things much more in my stride — adjust my expectations on an almost daily (sometimes even hourly) basis, exercising patience (I’m not a natural — it’s bloody hard and I find myself tested regularly). Gradually though I’m learning to slow-down in order to be able to speed up.

2) Being can be just as valuable as doing — like so many of us, I think I’ve been socialised into keeping busy which has led to me being a very driven and often times restless individual — always on the go physically and mentally. Burn out has taught me something about this but even more so has the pandemic. I’ve had to really focus on stopping and being present to both my needs and the needs of others in a way I haven’t been previously — especially for those nearest and dearest. Their needs have been almost overwhelming at times which has meant stopping everything else and being totally present with them for however long that it takes whilst being attuned and managing my own needs and emotions.

3) Never waste a crisis — my business partner and I pivoted a business in the pandemic — it’s pushed us to raise our game and learn things we never would have thought to — engaging meaningfully with virtual communities in a way I never believed possible with huge amounts of learning and benefits. I have baked, sewed, cycled, played, read, walked and got creative with my daughter like I always said I would but rarely did! And I’ve finally embarked on the coaching programme I’ve been promising myself I would make time for but never did. Finally, I’ve also gained more confidence to walk away from projects and relationships that simply weren’t working.

But I’m only human. As I type, I’m struggling with yet more home schooling whilst supporting family and friends (especially elderly ones), my husband’s job as a critical worker, running our businesses and being essentially locked in for what has always been the time of year I’ve found hardest. Putting these thoughts to paper has helped. My intent is to stay curious, present and open. Sticking and in some cases going back to some of the good habits (walking, mindfulness, cooking, sleep) and noticing when I’m slipping into ones that don’t serve me one day at a time.

I will also remember to celebrate! I read my first fiction book in over a year over the Holidays (all 900+ pages of it). I struggled to do it before in 2020, I simply didn’t have sufficient focus that’s definitely worthy of celebration! And then there’s the looming 50th Birthday…

Rebecca Hill

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