What I learnt in 2020
What a YEAR. I still can't quite believe what we've walked through in 2020, it all feels like a movie - or some kind of surreal dream - but we've done it and we're stepping into a new year without fully knowing what's around the next corner.
It's so weird writing a New Years Post during a season like this. I don't quite know how to pitch it. Do I launch into hope and excitement for the New Year and all the promises it may bring, or do we keep it mellow and uncertain, tiptoeing around with trepidation? In truth, I think I've experienced both of those things this year. It's been such a roller coaster, and whilst I am so so tired, I am also looking forward with perseverance knowing that this isn't the end.
2021 holds a lot of hope. It's another new page, another chance to grab life in all it's fullness, another year to dream and explore and chase living. It's also an opportunity to reflect. A chance to look back at all the things that I learnt this year, the good and the bad, and make positive steps towards self-improvement. It's been a heck of a year and the lessons have been great, so here's what I've learnt this year.
1. Putting in boundaries with people is okay. In fact, it's a must.
I started counselling this year. Life during the summer term got too difficult and I needed someone to help me process, and think, and unravel the strings of my own life. One of the things we discovered is that I'm often too concerned with making sure everyone else feels okay that I totally sacrifice my own happiness. It was the biggest eye opener and difficult to hear. I started putting in boundaries, saying no to friendships and taking a stance for my own dreams, desires and needs. Those decisions weren't easy, and went against every coping mechanism I'd put in place since I was a teen, but the peace I felt after letting stuff go was immense. A self-awareness journey I wish I'd gone on earlier.
2. People can't read minds: Speak up.
One thing my line manager said to me this year is, "people are often too concerned with themselves to worry about whether you're doing okay". He was talking in relation to work loads, but the truth is this happens in real life. It's not a negative, simply a way of understanding that if you need something you need to say. It was also a bit of an eye-opener in terms of how I handled my own friendships - had I asked how someone was doing recently? Had I remembered to check in? Often the case was no, and I've taken a steep learning curve in working out how to do that better.
3. There's a lot more to talk about
This year I've seen people really open up online. Without their usual places to vent, and rant, and share in the things that they are struggling with people have turned to social media platforms and it has been beautiful to see the surge of support. I have stood in awe as stories have been shared of miscarriage, bereavement, financial struggles and relationship breakdowns, and equally been amazed at the response of hope and encouragement. Social media has been such an important mechanism for connection this year and I have been blessed by the countless posts of wise words. Keep it going.
4. It's not over yet.
2020 has been pretty bleak for us. I found out I had postpartum depression from my miscarriage in October 2019, I lost an entire support network as we went into lockdown and quickly spiralled into the darkest place I've ever been. We had house uncertainties, job losses, were both working crazy hours with all the kids at home and basically it was bad. Really bad. But God didn't quit. My bosses paid for counselling for me, Lee's hours settled down (and we received a crazy paycheque for all the overtime he'd done), my redundancy was overturned and the chance to buy a house came back on the horizon. We're actually entering 2021 in a really healthy position, and when I'd lost all hope, God turned it all around and showed me again, "Hollie, I've got you". It's not over yet guys.
So here we are on the cusp of the New Year, filled with expectation and uncertainty. I have no idea how 2021 will go and maybe that's the biggest lesson of all from this year. We don't truly know what tomorrow will bring, so count your blessings everyday, tell the ones you love how much they mean to you and make steps constantly to chase your dreams.
Until next time...