You know what I am looking the most forward to in 2021? It not being 2020.
Because three-fourths of the year was spent in lock-down, I almost feel like 2020 didn’t even happen. Except that I know it did. I don’t know about you, but after a while, it all seemed to just start to blur together. And not always in a good way.
So, I’m excited about 2021 because it means that 2020 is over and we’ve all managed to survive this incredible year.
Who knew that we were going to have to live through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that would shut down our society, disrupt the economy and kill thousands of people in our country alone?
For me one of the hardest challenges of 2020, besides not being able to connect in person with my family and friends and trying to stay safe and not spread COVID, was how quietly the process of aging snuck up on me.
It caught up to me this past year in ways that only mid-life can bring.
First it started getting my attention by my worsening eyesight, which I blamed on too much “screen time” now that I was on the computer all day conducting therapy with clients. Several months later and many socially-distanced visits to the eye doctor, turns out that my eyesight is changing, and not just because of additional screen time.
All of a sudden, I find myself talking about “multifocal” contacts and glasses (a kinder way to reference bifocal glasses) and trying to keep track of where my reading glasses are. I have now become one of those people who has glasses available in every room of my house and my car.
Next came the slow down of my metabolism, which at first I thought was simply “pandemic eating” catching up with me. Well, turns out that “pandemic eating” is the perfect condition for exposing a slowed down metabolism that apparently comes with mid-life.
Gone are the days of being able to eat whatever I want and get away with it. And this is despite exercising daily and staying active. When I was younger, staying fit depended 60% on the exercise I was doing and 40% on what I ate; now it’s directly reversed apparently, staying fit requires me to focus 60% of my efforts on food choices and intake and 40% upon the kind of exercise. It’s a true paradigm shift.
What these physical life changes have taught me is how important it is to make movement and activity as much of a priority as everything else in my life. Instead of exercising with a goal in mind, I now approach it as a way to support myself staying healthy and strong as I am moving into the second phase of my life.
I’ve also had my share of hot flashes this past year too. Thankfully, these started happening this past summer, during which I could go out and jump into the swimming pool to cool off. Still, not a fun thing to have to begin to get used to. I’m adjusting though and finding my way through this piece, using nutrition, natural supplements and stress-relieving practices to manage.
I liken this perimenopause life transition that I am going through to being like “adolescence with consciousness”.
If you think about it, adolescence was the other major life transition in which hormones were all over the place and it felt like my body went from one moment making sense to me to the next moment being all over the place. The difference I am finding is that now, in midlife, I have more resources, more supports, more knowledge, wisdom and life experience to understand “that my body is changing again” and to greet myself with compassion and support.
For me, this past year has been all about doubling down on the amount of support that I need to build into my life to stay grounded and connected.. I have learned in a way that I never have before, how much I need it. There’s been so much going on this past year on so many levels.
What I have learned in a deeper, more profound way is how dynamic life is, how much change is a part of being alive and how important it is to find an anchor deep inside to keep coming back to when I start to lose my connection to myself.
2020 has certainly provided me with ample opportunities to learn about this and practice anchoring and reconnection. For these growth opportunities I am grateful.
I used to be one of those people who intentionally sat down at the end of each year and not only reviewed and reflected upon the past year, but also came up with clear and measurable new year’s goals and intentions.
However, several years ago, someone very wise and dear to me said that anytime we add a goal to life, it creates tension. That’s stuck with me. Deeply.
Anytime I create a “goal” for myself, it always creates tension in my structure. Even if the tension is subtle- it’s there.
It’s how I learned to move forward in my life from a place of pressure or fear of failing, rather than moving forward in life as a process of movement towards something that I want, whether or not it happens. Moving forward for the sake of growth and movement and living into the next experience is such a freeing way to be alive.
So, I don’t create any specific “resolutions” or goals any longer at New Year’s. Or really for that matter, for any of my life experiences any more.
Instead, what I hope for and set intentional energy towards, at each new year, is the hope that I continually be given opportunities for deeper growth and healing, whatever that looks like and means in each and every situation. I want to keep growing. That’s my hope for my new year and for my life.
Whatever those experiences bring, they bring. My only job is to keep building support so that I can meet them when they come.
So, my resolution / wish / hope / intention for 2021 is that I not only continue to receive opportunities to learn more about my unfinished places inside, but that I also have the supports to live those experiences for my highest good and continue to clear out what gets in the way of my aliveness.
And that’s it.
2020 was about surviving a pandemic and staying safe. Here’s to 2021 being all about a year of profound and continued growth!
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.