Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who makes a vision board every year. I like having the visual reminder of my priorities, hopes, and goals. I like reflecting on the past year and considering where I’d like to go in the next. I like taking the time to set intentions. I like making use of my embarrassingly large collection of old magazines taking up way too much room in our storage room. And I also like the school-days collage vibe using old fashioned scissors, glue, and modge-podge.
And while I don’t usually feel the urge to start this process until the time warp week between Christmas and New Years, after the rush of food and gifts and social events is winding down, this year is different. Which makes sense. I mean, this year has been different in so many ways. Last week I found myself digging through rubbermaid bins in the storage room, bringing armloads of magazines upstairs. I found myself sitting down with a cup of coffee and a pair of scissors. I found myself flipping, scanning, exploring, hunting, not completely knowing what images I was looking for. Unlike in the past, I set no hard and fast goals in advance. Unlike in the past, I found myself slathering on the modge-podge without perfectly laying out all the images first. 2020 has changed me.
In 2020 I intended to finish a marathon.
In 2020 I intended to attend more yoga classes than I did in 2019.
In 2020 I intended to travel.
In 2020 I intended to write a book and submit it to publishers.
In 2020 I intended to swim every single single week.
In 2020 I intended to complete the 50 book pledge.
In 2020 I intended to do many things, and I did. I did attend more yoga classes than in 2019, even if they were live-streamed into my living room as opposed to in the studio. In 2020 I did write a book – two in fact, as well as a proposal – and submitted them to publishers. In 2020 I finished the 50 book pledge (or I will in the next 10 days), reading wonderful and interesting books that stretched my imagination and understanding of the world. But at first, especially in the early days of the pandemic, those things were overshadowed by all the things I didn’t do because of the Covid. I didn’t finish a marathon because there was no more marathon to run. I didn’t travel because there was no way to travel. And I certainly didn’t swim every single week because for long stretches the pool was closed. 2020 has changed me.
2020 has changed me because I’ve had to learn to let go and accept the things I cannot control. And like a seed planted in the dirt, I’ve grown in this darkness of isolation and quarantine and lockdown, so much so that my hopes for 2021 are radically different than for past years. Less ambitious from the outside. They’re simpler, sustainable, & more joyful. They’re about getting outside. They’re about moving my body because it feels good. They’re about freedom and presence, love and acceptance. They’re about creating internal peace and happiness. It’s not hokey. When the outer stuff is taken away, as it has been, that’s what we have left. And that’s what matters most. 2020’s been tough, but I’m changed & better for having lived through it.