2020 began with hope.

It was the year that folks played with the pun and created resolutions about clear-sightedness and vision.

It was the year that folks planned to set things right in their lives.

Very few saw what 2020 would actually bring.

As 2020 rolled out many felt like it rolled right over them.   

It rolled over our hopes and our dreams and it changed our plans.    

If you had hopes or dreams for 2020 you probably knew that’s what they were.   When we hope and dream we have some awareness that our hopes and dreams might not come true and we’re at least a little bit prepared to be disappointed.   But when our expectations fall through, we seldom see it coming.

Expectations are like the air we breathe.   Expectations exist all around us and we hardly give them a thought.    We expect the sun to rise and we expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch.   As 2020 dawned, we expected it to be a year like any other.   We expected to go to work and school and stores, just as we always had.  But then we couldn’t.

When things we take for granted are taken from us and our expected routines are disrupted we can feel muddled in disbelief and confusion.   We find sadness mixed with outrage and anger and we don’t know what to do with all that we’re feeling.   This is grief.

Grief is the tangle of emotions that rises up when a familiar pattern changes.

2020 was grief personified.    It changed almost every pattern in our lives.

Including our eating, sleeping and working schedules.

2020 had it’s way with us…

When our hopes and dreams have been dashed it is tempting to give up and vow never to hope or dream or try again.  But sometimes hope is exactly what we need.

When we focus on what we cannot control we feel pain.  CoVid, gravity and getting older are all things that we cannot control.   What you eat, what you read and when you exercise are all things you can  control.

As 2021 dawns, consider setting small, achievable goals as a way to give yourself back a sense of control.

Make a list of the things that are important to you and a list of the areas in your life where you can make a difference.  Set your goals in that magic middle-ground where your power and priorities overlap.

CoVid may linger long enough to prevent you from running a marathon this year but there are still things you can do for yourself, to make 2021 a better year than 2020 was.

Be gentle with yourself.

Set small, achievable goals and celebrate the wins.

Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.