It isn’t a particularly hot-take to say that 2020 was a tough year. For me, the year started with a flight to the other side of the world to see my dying mother for the last time. At the time, Covid felt like a problem just on the edge of awareness. A couple of weeks after returning home, we were in lock-down and the worries only grew as we all faced the looming threat of a pandemic.
As the year progressed my mother finally died, followed by the death of our goldfish (my tears probably more about my mother than the fish). And then the family dog went and died. Suffice to say, it hasn’t been the best year.
We’ve all had a lot to feel traumatised by. Mental health problems have been on the rise as we deal with this seemingly unending threat. We often hear about Post Traumatic Distress but the flip-side of this is Post-Traumatic Growth. As Richard Tedeschi (Post Traumatic Growth researcher) says, traumatic experiences can also help us “new understandings of [our]selves, the world [we] live in, how to relate to other people, the kind of future they might have and a better understanding of how to live life.”
We aren’t out of the woods as we enter 2021. It might be another 6 months, or even another year, before things return to some version of normal. But personally, I want to use this time as an opportunity. Months of isolation, grief and worry have given me a wealth of time to reflect. I’ve reassessed what is important in my life, evaluated the ways I was simply existing rather than really living and am making a commitment to change. So my New Year’s resolution is to find some meaning and purpose in the ashes of 2020. I hope you are able to do the same.