2020 in Review
This morning, I checked my email and saw a phrase I’ve never heard before. The writer and creator of Ness Labs, Anne-Laure Le Cunff, said in her recent newsletter, “This year was both the slowest and the fastest of my life. Some parts feel like a blur, others feel like they lasted forever.” The statement couldn’t be truer for me. For many of us, 2020 is the year where nothing happened according to plan.
I began 2020 with vacation plans. Normally, I take awhile to decide on a location and plan it down with precision. However, I decided in January that if I’m ever going to visit NYC, then I’d better do it now. Somehow, I was right. I went to NYC in late February with my husband and two children. Two weeks after we came home, the city shut down, along with the rest of the country. Several weeks after that, in late March, I lost my job.
Fast forward another week, my daughter’s school closed down and implemented online learning. The challenges with such a transition is another subject altogether, but what I will say is that it was drastic and confusing, perhaps for all parties involved. I continued to stay at home, all the while managing a household with two young kids and a husband who still had a job but worked outside the home. My husband’s job had talks about cutting hours, but ultimately they made an agreement that allowed him to keep his regular hours.
However, with my lack of income and his hourly wage job, it became apparent that money would be tight. But at the same time, we stopped going out, spending money on things like coffee and clothes, so our spending was brought down to a minimum. I discovered that I was okay with that, and that over time, my perceptions and behavior towards spending had changed. My priorities were changing.
Time flew by. It took two months before I finally got my unemployment claims processed. During that time, I realized that we had been slightly more prepared than we thought. I’d save up some money in the past few years, and with the limited spending we were doing, we were able to pay our bills while I continued looking for another job.
Yes, this year has been unexpected, but at the same time, it opened up a lot of doors for me, perception-wise, as I began to reflect on the year, I see just how much I’ve learned about myself and the world. Despite the initial setback with my job and unemployment, there have been a lot of opportunities that have come my way. And for that, I am grateful. I can say this is the year that I learned the most, the year I discovered the most, the year I’m more selective about my choices and what I consume. I’d like to say that this is not my first rodeo. My husband and I survived the Great Recession of 2008–2009 as college graduates with no money and no jobs so this time, we’re a little bit more prepared.
Perhaps the best word to describe this year that may apply to everyone is “resilient.” We’ve all been thrown against the rocks, into the same river without life support, and we’re all still here, hanging on. Luckily for me, I have a job now. I get to work with really interesting people in an industry that I love, and I’ve accomplished several goals this year simply because the pandemic has forced me to be more determined in how I reach my goals.