If you are like me, then you started 2021 with high hopes and excitement for the new year. We made it to the end of 2020! (if, just barely). There was nothing magical about the date change, but it was a reset our minds needed to be able to reframe our present and breathe hope into the future.
I wouldn’t say 2020 was the worst year of my life, but it was a year that stripped me of everything I know and hold sacred. It stripped me to my core, leaving nothing but the skeleton of who I am. This process was painful, excruciating at times, and exposing… something I hate worse than pain. I am one of the most private people I know, yet the circumstances of the year left every aspect of my life on public display. If you had told me a year ago what would unfold in 2020, I certainly would have thought I could never survive. I definitely would have laid claim that the annihilation of all I had held so tightly together would have certainly been the worst experience of my life.
Now that I am on the other side, I can say for sure that while there were many confusing, painful, heartbreaking days… there is now a peace and resolution that comes with standing bare as nothing more than myself. When dignity and pride are peeled away physically, mentally, and emotionally, what is left? Just me. There is peace here. There is no strength or energy left to maintain the façade of one who has built a life full of love, abundance and joy. No… there have been moments of abundance and joy. There has been love, but not in the traditional sense—all of that has been stripped down or taken away. It’s just me being with myself for the first time in my adult life. The one and only way to get out of bed and move forward with life is to believe that, at my core, I am enough.
I admit, I don’t fully know what that means yet, but this is where 2021 comes in. It’s time now to build that sense of self that perhaps should have been fostered all along. There is no sense in living with regret or wishing back time, there is only moving forward with hope for the future. As 2020 came crashing to a close, I sat with the anticipation of new vision, energy, strength, and sense of purpose. I just knew I would turn the page and find that grit within myself to build the life I wanted. I have done it time and time again. I am strong. I am resourceful. I know how to set my mind to something and get it done.
There is a deep strength of character I know I possess, and it has carried me through so many dark days and seasons of my past. But I sit here confused, because this isn’t what’s happened. I find myself lacking motivation. I am struggling to dream. I don’t see the future. I don’t know where to look or what to grab hold of. I am scared. It’s not that 2020 took or shook my confidence; it’s that 2020 woke me up to what is real. I lost my vision for what goals I can see in my mind and what I think I want and will make me happy. The truth is… I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what goal to set or even what to reach for. I honestly don’t know what I need right now, much less one, five, or ten years from now. I have no idea.
2020 taught me that anything I conjure up based on what I think will make me happy or what others tell me I’m good at will bring me nothing but empty happiness in the end. Life may look happy and fulfilled, but it isn’t grounded in truth. 2021 was supposed to start with a bang—an exhilarating fresh start—but reality couldn’t be further away for me.
So, I wait. I begin adding muscle to the skeleton left from 2020, one layer at a time. Building muscle takes time, patience and consistency. There are days of active building and days of rest. We need coaches and trainers to help us along the way, and there are certainly long periods of time where it looks and feels like absolutely nothing is happening at all. Those days are the hardest. Those are the days where I want to binge eat, drink anything but water and stay out all night. The days that look and feel visionless are the days I want to distract myself the most. I can definitely say I have engaged in my fair share of distractions lately, but, in the end, I know I am simply prolonging the process. Or not? Maybe I really don’t know. Maybe being messy and unsure and acting out and caving in is all part of the process of finding myself.
What I know for sure is that 2021 starts a new way of being for me… it’s just that I have no idea what that new way is yet. How I see the world is forever changed, and how the world relates to me is forever changed as well. Life is always evolving and shifting, but I am hopeful that by the end of 2021 I am able to cast vision again and see the new future I want to work toward. I have always been a goal-oriented person; this hasn’t changed, but life has.
So, if you are discouraged or frustrated that 2021 feels stagnate, empty and unsteady… you aren’t alone. 2020 changed us forever. It changed us in ways we can’t even see yet. Set your goals for 2021, or don’t. Do something each day that feels genuine and true to who you are, but be patient and willing to sit in the unknown. Sit here, believe in yourself, invest in getting to know new aspects of yourself, and the phoenix will slowly rise. I can’t even begin to picture the new woman I am becoming, and I don’t want to wrap limitations around her with my old way of being, so I wait. Wait with me. Let’s have some fun together while we are here!