How many of you are glad 2020 is almost in the rear view mirror? I think we must have cumulative ptsd. We’re affected not just as individuals, not even just as a nation — but as an entire planet shaken to its core. Actually, let me correct that. It’s not post traumatic stress. It’s just traumatic stress because it’s not yet over. Some have lost more than others certainly. Some have lost it all. As a human family, we mourn for those who have suffered the most. So much loss. But if we wallow in that place of loss and fear and grief, we stagnate and drown. So, instead, let’s take just this moment to try together to kick up from the bottom and find the meaning. As 2020 draws to a close, let’s focus not on what we lost – (though we will never forget), – but instead let’s shift our thoughts to what we gained. In that space, we might find meaning.
I can only speak for myself, but despite transitory feelings of fear, isolation and confusion, I truly did gain immeasurable value from this historic, life-altering year. Pre-covid, life was fast. Like, really really fast. Rat on a wheel kind of fast. As the single mom of two teenage young adults, I competed daily for scraps of their time. Too often, like a forgotten puppy under the kitchen table, I lost out to friends, boyfriends, school events, work, extracurricular lessons, and myriad other “essential” demands on their time. Independent drivers now, I didn’t even have the shared time and space of dropping them and picking them up anymore. I would semi-panic sometimes watching the timer run down on their irreplaceable childhoods. Then came March, 2020.
Suddenly, and without choice, my girls and I were thrust back into the slower world I grew up in during the 1970s and 80s. The pre-cell phone, pre-Instagram, pre-overscheduled world I had reluctantly watched disappear decades ago. The world of quarantine, despite the unknown and simmering fear, was actually beneficial for my little nuclear family. Virtually overnight, no one was over-scheduled. There were no dates, no parties, no dance classes, no leaving all day for an office or school, no shopping, no concerts, not even church choir. All was quiet. Everyone was home. Like God or Nature, or, at a minimum, some force bigger than us, hit the pause button.
As days turned into weeks, no one missed family dinner together at the kitchen table. Instead of different shows being watched at different times on different devices, we usually came together in the living room to enjoy favorites as a family. We talked. We listened. We took walks. We played board games. And, truth is, we were not bored. And we were not lonely. We had each other. Famiglia. In hindsight, days of quarantine for us, were a gift. Yes, 2020 gave me a gift for which I am grateful. It gave me the gift of time.
As I write this, I am fully aware of the tens of thousands who were robbed of time. I know in just uttering this gratitude, in finding the cliché silver lining, it feels like survivor’s guilt. But rationality tells me that I can respect the fallen, and mourn their experience, and still find gratitude for the good I absorbed during my own. So I am grateful for the gift of time. After all, your time is literally your life. For me, time in 2020 meant a reset for family. It meant a new appreciation for the gift of life itself. It meant a new understanding of how everything we cherish truly can disappear overnight. It was a virtual slap in the face to wake us up from our complacent, robot-like slumber. It was the cold water shower – Nature screaming at us to look around and not take it all for granted.
I don’t purport to have all the answers. The answers are unique to each individual, anyway. But for me, 2020 was the proverbial kick in the pants. It graced me with time I might not otherwise have had. Time to be with family and truly enjoy them – without looking at the clock before someone had to run somewhere. Time to be with myself and nurture those ideas and habits that make me, me. Time to be with my God, aside from the organized Church, but just me and my Creator. Time to reach out to family and friends who had drifted apart. Time to look at nature with a new appreciation. Time to sit and remember all of the amazing adventures I’ve been blessed to have experienced. Time to take inventory and reflect on my journey: where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go. Time to think. To dream. To plan. To just be. I’m grateful for all of it.
I don’t know what it all means. Is there a grand plan? Or maybe just a general outline and we fill in the details with our choices? How much do we control? (The pandemic shows us we control less than we probably believed pre-covid.) But I do know this. In the midst of darkness, there is always a light on — somewhere. The light of Hope. The light of Life. And I do know that 2020 changed me. I don’t know if it’s for better or worse, but it changed me. My life is more than half over. It is a truly precious gift which I swear to myself I won’t take for granted. I promise myself, to the best of my ability, to live each day deliberately. As Eliza says in Hamilton, “I want to be part of the narrative.”
So ciao 2020. To everything there is a season. Wishing you all a better 2021 – full of light and the fullness of life.
Gina Wilson, Esq.
Gina Wilson, Esq.
Gina is an entrepreneur, coach, attorney, author and speaker based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. To reach her or find out more about her services, please visit