Like many, as another year comes to a close, I begin to reflect on another year that has flashed before our eyes.
Usually this reflection focuses on the changes this year brought, whether it be personal or professional accomplishments, travels, how many resolutions I actually stuck to (if any), and the things I wanted to do but have to wait another year for.
WIth everything that has happened this year, I find myself reflecting a little differently. For the first time in a long time, many of us are less focused on the things we didn’t do or what’s next and instead focused on our personal growth during a trying year.
This year has been hard. Point blank. Whether it be because of the obvious reasons with the pandemic or the various social, political and economic movements. We have all had to completely reevaluate our priorities and values, forcing most of us to learn, adapt, and alter our lives completely.
Looking back on it now, it might just be the year many of us actually needed. We needed to slow down, reflect, and realize who and what is important in our lives. We learned to live in the moment, take things day by day, reconnect with the people we love (virtually or in person). We learned to be comfortable with the unknown, the uncertainty, and the uncomfortable (quite literally—often spending a little too much time with the people we love).
Most importantly, we needed to grow, not only as individuals but as a society. We became more understanding toward those who have struggled with mental health issues, because for the first time, many of us understood what anxiety and depression could be like; we began to listen to marginalized groups telling us that things need to change. We gave them the room to speak up and educate the rest of us. We saw the impactful changes in our environment and ecosystem that occur when we slow down.
There is no doubt this year will go down in history as one of the worst years. Yet simultaneously, I think many can agree it has opened our eyes. It is the year most people will reflect on and realize they endured the most growth.
No, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, it all won’t just disappear. There is something to be said for the fact that you made it through this year, though. I would like to think most of us are coming out of it as stronger, kinder, and more compassionate and understanding individuals ready to take on what next year throws at us.