Every year, I try to reflect back on the past year and make some long range goals for the coming year. I know time is an illusion (and per Douglas Adams, lunchtime is doubly so) and a construct of our own making to a certain extent, but the dark of winter is an opportune time to ponder life and make plans.
Honestly, I have been battling a lot of impostor syndrome in the recent weeks. I have learned in life to separate myself from the roles I choose to take. It is what allows me to say yes to more opportunities and keep myself open to change. But lately, I have been so focused on my kids and feeling so cut off from both my creative life and from making deep connections with other people that I find myself feeling a bit of a fraud. I know I’m not, that I’m doing what I need to do at the moment, but December saw me at some low points.
And that, for so many of us, has been 2020. A rollercoaster of emotions. I know I have appreciated the slower pace, the time with my family, getting things done around the house that we never have had time for in our five years here. But also loneliness for adult company, feeling drained, needing a break from the kids with no opportunities to take one, mourning the loss of skipped trips and projects due to the pandemic. Concern for the growing divide in the United States. Seeing the eyes of so many opened to the racial inequities here and then seeing many close their eyes again. Seeing the hatred and selfishness of so many out in the open (but truly believing it’s better that way, for how can we fix a problem if it’s hidden?). I don’t know. I’m tired, but still doing what I can.
I started the year with two audacious goals for me. The first was a financial goal of being able to help one family at Thanksgiving, which we were able to do, and we also still adopted a family at Christmas. I was able to donate small amounts of money to various charitable organizations throughout the year as well, and we tried to support small businesses and always tipped big when we ordered takeout or delivery. I hope to grow this into the coming year, because there are so many in need out there, but with how uncertain the future is, I hope to at least maintain the giving at Thanksgiving and Christmas, helping two families locally.
My second audacious goal was to stop chasing the “elusive balance” between work and family and just allow the ebb and flow of life to take me along, and I think I was forced into this mindset fairly quickly in 2020. It was not an easy lesson, but I hope it is a lifelong one. I feel like the work towards having more fun in life was hit or miss, and I will continue to work towards that this year. If anything, I feel even more tired this year than last year, even though I technically worked less and was more financially secure.
So self-care and letting myself play are important this year. Filling myself with the energy to create, to help others, to have more pleasure out of the day-to-day moments consistently, to stress way less… these are what I have to work on this year.
Numbers are arbitrary, and we still have so much work to do as a species. I’m prepared to shoulder my load, but I will be taking care of myself along the way.
Happy New Year, and may 2021 provide us with a few less punches than 2020.