We are living through a major, historical event and it is exhausting.  It’s annoying to have to deal with wearing a mask everywhere, it’s difficult to not see family and friends as often as we may like, not to mention the stress of dealing with the political discussions that surround this already trying experience.  I think all of us would rather not be living through this.  But, the thing is, we are. 

Over the past several months I have been really trying to focus in on positive aspects of this experience.  Not only good things that are happening, but things that I am learning as we trudge along.  This week I’d like to focus in on a few of the lessons this year has taught me and hope that each of you reflect on how you have been able to grow as individuals through all of the chaos.

We Need to be Flexible

There’s no knowing what the future will hold.  It’s important to make plans and set goals that you can work towards.  However, we need to be willing to work around obstacles that come in our way, to make adjustments if necessary.  Life will never be smooth, but it’s choppiness is more bearable when we can ride it out while still moving in the right general direction. 

Complaining Doesn’t Make Anything Better

We’ve been dealing with the epidemic of nearly a year now, and throughout all of it complaints about what a terrible year 2020 was.  But, for me at least, that only seemed to make it harder.  When I focused in on good things, or even just accepted the way things were and decided to roll with them, I was much more at peace with the situation.  It was when people brought up how much they hated the situation that I felt more depressed and anxious.

Focusing So Much On Differences Will Only Tear Us Apart

It’s important to appreciate differences and recognize their value.  But we are more similar than I think we recognize.  Regardless of race, political party, religion, sexuality, gender, or age, we are all people trying to do the best we can.  The more we recognize the good in others, the more unified we will be as a country.

Patience Truly is a Virtue

A year is a long time to be doing this, especially when we’re still not quite sure when it will be over.  It’s become more and more hard to be patient in waiting for it all to end.  The difficult nature of maintaining that trait makes it a virtue that takes time to develop.  These mandates and expectations provide a wonderful opportunity to learn patience.  We should each do more to take advantage of that.

We Need to Actively Choose What We Allow to Bother Us

There are many reasons to be annoyed in this world.  It’s easy to allow ourselves to be wrapped up in that frustration and let it control us.  We can be angry about masks, we can get mad when businesses put in certain protocols, we can argue and stand stubbornly on principle.  Or, we can prioritize respect and worry more about helping others feel safe than about taking off our masks as soon as no one official is around to see it.  We should be worried about being kind and respectful of laws, rules, and other people.  Stop worrying about things we can’t control and start worrying about things we can.

As things continue to change and progress, I hope we all seek out more lessons from this experience.  A year is a long time to be stagnant simply because things are not going the way we’re used to.  Always seek to learn and keep your spirits up.  Things will work out, given enough time.