The Year Nobody Wanted

The Year Nobody Wanted


2020-12-31 19:14:35

Typically I love the end of the year. I love Christmas and then preparing for New Year’s Eve. I love reflecting on the previous 365 days, looking at all I have achieved, what went well, what I’ve learned, and what I want to leave behind and what I want to take into the new year. It’s generally a refreshing time when I feel content and hopeful. I think about all the things I want to do in the coming year and my motivation is renewed. 

I don’t think it’s a surprise when I say that’s not the energy I’m feeling this year. I know a lot of people aren’t. I know I’m not alone when I say 2020 was one of the most difficult years of my life. Here I am on December 31st, actually feeling guilty that I haven’t done more, or planned out how I want 2021 to look. Besides feeling guilty, it just makes me feel stuck. Like I’m somehow remaining in the depths of 2020, or that 2021 won’t be off to a good start unless I write a gratitude list or make a vision board.

I want you to know if you’re also feeling this way – it’s ok and if all you did was survive this year, that’s good enough. I think my resistance comes up because I have the thinking engraved in my brain that I’m only on this Earth for a limited amount of time, so I need to do all I can while I’m here. I also struggle with the beliefs that if I don’t plan out my year right, stick to my goals, and work hard, I’m somehow failing and no one is responsible for that besides me.

Well, 2020 didn’t go as planned, for anyone, and that’s probably the biggest understatement of the year. In fact, I declare it the year nobody wanted – but we got anyway.

This time of the year is notorious for slogans like “new year, new you!” “set goals!” “be grateful!” and frankly I’m sick of people telling me what to do. Sometimes we can barely get out of bed, feed ourselves, and continue with the simple parts of life like paying our bills and showering, let alone doing big projects like finishing writing a book you’ve been working on for 3 years (hi, it’s me!) or committing to running a book club, and a recovery circle etc. 

So let me be the first to say it, this year made me mad. I’m mad about all the death and hardship the world has seen due to a pandemic, police brutality, and civil unrest. I’m mad that people have lost jobs, time with family, and events and vacations. I’m really mad my father unexpectedly died with no reason or warning, or time to say goodbye. I’m mad my first pregnancy experience has been riddled with anxiety and grief instead of excitement and joy. I’m mad I’ve had to bear witness to so many tragedies. I’m mad that because of this anger and grief my year looked nothing like I planned or wanted it to.

Guess what? It’s not fair. And it’s ok to be mad. It’s ok that I didn’t achieve all I wanted this year and it’s ok if it feels hard. I normally thoroughly enjoy social media, scrolling it, and creating content, but since my dad died I find it very hard to read posts about family gatherings with dads and posts about being grateful in general. I don’t feel grateful. I feel mad.

It’s the societal norm to always look for the silver lining, to try desperately to be grateful even during times when you’re hurting, or to find the good even during the shittiest years. But I want to say that you don’t have to. Grieving is enough. Feeling and acknowledging your anger is enough. Feeling your way through is enough. Please don’t allow the toxic positivity to force you to stuff down your true feelings.

So yes, I’ve spent a lot of time crying, sleeping, scrolling tik tok and just trying to make it through some days, when what I really wanted to be doing was reading, writing, working towards my goals, preparing to be a mom, doing some hard crossfit workouts, socializing, and traveling.

Sometimes life forces us to put everything on hold and tend to what’s really going on inside of us. The grief I’ve felt this year has rocked me. Since my dad died I’ve found myself asking “does this even matter?” to so much. I’ve recalled times this year (and previous years) when I was genuinely concerned and upset about a lot of little things that I now realize don’t matter at all. I’ve thought to myself, does anything I’m doing really matter in the scheme of things, in this world, at this time? ShouId I be doing or say something else? Or nothing at all?

I don’t know. What I do know is that in this epic journey of grief and being 9 months pregnant with my rainbow baby, feeling this tremendous weight is completely normal. I also know I don’t need to decide or do anything today. 

What I do know is that I am trying my best to meet myself with compassion and grace right where I am today. What I’m doing is taking these feelings in as they come. I’m riding the roller coaster of emotions and I honor the many days of sadness and exhaustion. I hope you will all do the same today.

A new year may come tomorrow, but there’s no way to know what it will bring. All we can do is ride the waves as best we can, honor how we feel, and know that life changes us one day, one tragedy, one year at a time.


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