You were So. Much. Emotion. All of it. All the time. New emotions. Forgotten emotions. Anger, love, despair, altruism, surprise, forgiveness. Let’s reminisce about the cyclone of emotions you took me through, 2020.
You started the year great. Accomplishments, big goals, fun memories. Was I ignorant? Confident? Naive? Did I get cocky? Did the world get cocky? Would more humility have prevented a pandemic? Most likely not. Did the pandemic reset my, our, humility? Absolutely.
Two weeks later and I was overwhelmed. Paralyzed by the weight of knowing that if my efforts failed, people would lose their jobs and have their lives forever changed. Trapped, deep down foreseeing that no matter how hard I worked, how much I cared or fought or resisted, they probably were going to regardless. Depressed doing things that I didn’t believe I was good at (home schooling?! Deliveries?!) Helpless. Suddenly so ineffective and small in a world that I had spent decades shaping to be in my complete control.
Terrible hard decisions were made in June. Conversations I never in my life envisioned having. Grief. Sadness. For the loss of coworkers. Loss of friends. Loss of time. Of fun. Of years of a hard work destroyed overnight. Loss of money, freedom, control, confidence. Loss of vision toward the future.
July was finally quiet, and allowed in hope. I remember going for a walk on a Friday night and then just sitting on my front porch watching the sunset. I guiltily admitted that I was going to miss the freedom of being home with my family and doing whatever I wanted in the evenings. And then I pondered, maybe it didn’t had to be all or nothing? That I didn’t have to forfeit this newfound peace to regain what was lost in the spring. I felt hopeful that good, new, true things were being created in the darkness.
Pride. By August we were working events again as a team. Many were weird and awkward. But some were also incredible. Arguably our best hospitality innovation in years. Pride in those goddamn experience packages, that brought together all of our unique talents, and we soared above the rest of our industry. Pride in my family for our resilience with remote learning. For always creating joy with each other. Pride that I am surrounded by support and love and grace, most importantly during the times that I was not at my best.
Understanding. By November the silver linings of your 2020 tempest had shone through. The losses I’d grieved had been healed by the gratitude and humility I gained. Precious, joyous, unstructured time with my family. Deeper relationship with long-time friends. Space to listen and mentor. Time to invest in new skills and improve on old ones. Guilt-free dedication to better habits that needed to be nurtured.
2020, you could have been a generation of emotions, and yet you were only one year. I hope we don’t meet again for a long, looong time. But if and when someday we must, I will face you with the humility and emotional perseverance you gifted me this year.