The year 2020 changed all of us. Some call it a dumpster fire, the year who must not be named, the year that wasn’t. Whatever you call it, 2020 was an experiment in adaptability.

Were you able to adapt?

There’s no question we all felt challenges and made sacrifices. We had to modify our lifestyle to protect ourselves, but more importantly, our community, from a global pandemic (that is not yet under control as of this writing). For some that meant strict lockdowns, for others it was voluntary quarantine or face masks, and yet for others it meant maintaining a personal distance and reduced travel. Regardless of your situation, nearly 2 million deaths have occurred worldwide as of January 10, 2021. That’s absolutely tragic. If you have lost a loved one, my heart goes out to you.

But is it fair to dismiss the entire year as garbage? If you reflect on your past year, can you find any positive moments?

For me, 2020 wasn’t a terrible year. Yes, it could’ve been better, but when I focus on the positive I have a lot to be thankful for.

We voluntarily quarantined for the most part and in doing so our family has remained healthy all year. I was laid off from my Interior Design position in the spring but that allowed me the freedom to change career paths and focus full time on becoming a Certified KonMari Consultant. My husband and I weren’t able to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in Rome as planned, but instead we stayed local and had a quiet weekend getaway on a little island just off the coast of Göteborg. We were fortunate to have sports open to us here in Sweden longer than most, but they did eventually close. However, I’m grateful for the time I got to be on the ice practicing even if the competitions were cancelled.

I identify as an introvert and I feel safe at home so maybe your experience was different, but I felt like life slowed down and it was enjoyable! There wasn’t the pressure to DO everything, to GO everywhere. The expectations fell away. Hey, you weren’t even expected to be wearing pants!!

We learned how to work from home if we could. We learned how to connect with people over Zoom. In many parts of the world we learned that we had the patience to teach our kids (or not!) and gained more respect for teaching professionals in the process. Those unable to work from home, they were/are frontline warriors and we are ever appreciative of the risks they take for their community every day.

Being at home all the time isn’t without it’s downsides. I fear for the safety of those in domestic violence situations because under pressure feelings can escalate. I fear for those who live with mental illness because isolation can lead to hopelessness. I fear for those who live alone because loneliness can lead to depression. I implore you to reach out to your friends, family and neighbors to check on one another especially if you think they may be having a tough time. Even a simple phone call or text could make a difference.

What did you learn this year? What did you accomplish? Did you have time to do a project you’ve been putting off or learn a new skill? Did you practice self care and take some much needed down time? Did you binge watch EVERYTHING on Netflix, even Tiger King? How did you adapt to the new normal?

What did you miss most while being quarantined?

Life doesn’t have to be busy with expectations of doing a hundred things a week! It’s okay to scale our lives back to only a few things and prioritize what’s important. It can help us focus on who we want to be and what we want to accomplish in this life. If you want to redefine your vision in life, but don’t know how to start, I can help you with that. Life will always send us challenges but it’s how we adapt and respond to those challenges that defines us as a person.