Rising from the ashes
At the beginning of 2020, I declared it the year of change, of prosperity, of new beginnings, renewal, spring; I declared it MY year. 2020 turned out to be the most significant year for my generation. In the same way that generations before us overcame the Great Depression, world wars and pandemics, the cycle of devastation is inevitable. We all start new journeys with optimism and excitement in the belief our turning point is upon us, but we do not anticipate the turning point will be forged in fire. My reflections on 2020 brought me to the realisation that challenges in life are inevitable and that growth and prosperity don’t come in being challenged but rather in the way we shift as a result of being challenged.
The pandemic has shaken my sense of normalcy and comfort, and I took the time under lockdown to reflect on how I intend to approach it.
I found myself in a place of uncertainty in work and in my personal life; I was trying to manage my own fears while providing my children with leadership and security. I realised my reaction to this challenge is not just my personal journey, but I also had an audience who will mirror my approach when dealing with challenges in future. This compounded my anxiety, so do I show my children unwavering strength and certainty and shut down my feelings of anxiety? Or do I show them that I am anxious and unsure of the right answers?
The answer I have found is somewhere in between the two positions. I found that it is just as important to show my vulnerability and fear than to show my strength and rise from the ashes. Life’s challenges break you down and expose your vulnerabilities and it is important to lean into those insecurities and use them as an anchor for your rise. Instead of hiding the reality of the pandemic from my kids and trying to keep their lives as stable and unchanged as possible, I chose to show them the pandemic and the changes that it presented. Our chosen reaction to the bleak reality is to make the most of it: we spent more time together than ever before, I learnt to become my children’s teacher, we learnt gratitude for our health and keeping each other safe. We learnt that fear can be debilitating and cause panic, but also that fear can be a catalyst for change and new beginnings.
So, 2020 was my new beginning, my change, my spring, MY year after all. I built a bond with my family, I focused on what matters most in my life. I realised that time is passing and that I should use it fiercely. My most important lesson learnt is that when my next challenge comes − and it will come − I will remember 2020 and will be patient with myself. I will lean into my fears and vulnerability and know that I will rise from the ashes.