In February I was sitting at my desk and talking to my coworker about our colleague in Hong Kong. His children's school was shut down for a month, and he had to work from home.
My first reaction was, "I bet that's hard. What's he going to do for a month?"
Lately, I've been thinking about the simplicity of life in early 2020. We had no idea what was around the corner. We were about to face our hardest days, and for many people the darkest.
There were so many life events we missed last year, but what it's important to remember is that even in our darkest days we made a little light.
In the early days of home schooling, tears were shed, notebooks were thrown across the room, and words of "I can't do this anymore" were often cried. But as days turned into months and new routines were created, we realized that the only way out, was to go THROUGH IT.
We limped over the school finish line in June, and tried to celebrate our new found time. The Summer wasn't filled with baseball or soccer tournaments, or vacation, or even camp. It was filled with NOTHING. Literally nothing.
We were faced with a new challenge. What do we do with our time? For years, our life was built around our children's schedules. For years we used to say, "I wish I just had a few hours on the weekend to do nothing." Well folks, the jeannie granted our wish.
To occupy our time we started family bike rides. Before 2020, all five of us never rode a bike together. We rarely even rode in the car together. We also created outdoor movie nights and bought a trampoline. We used to long for time to sit on our sofa, and now we ask ourselves how do we get off of the sofa?
2020 forced us to think differently. I moved to a work from home environment. I now have a corner office. (In the corner of the living room, shoved between the sofa and the fire place.) We also had to get creative. I had to help teach 3rd, 6th and 8th grade. I was later promoted to 4th, 7th and 9th grade although I didn't request that. The biggest challenge was staying productive, accomplishing my own goals, and making sure our 3 kids didn't fall behind, mentally, academically and physically.
We saw friendships strengthen when our community would do drive by birthday parties for each of our kids. Nobody wanted to miss the opportunity to get out of their house, and honk their horns to see a child smile as we drove by with balloons hanging out of our cars. We would sit in our cars, longing for just a little more time to see our friends, as if this was a normal birthday party. I took for granted how often I would catch up with friends at school, or games, or parties. When all of that went away, I realized how much I missed my people.
By the end of 2020 I found myself craving a tiny bit of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. I realized I was in charge of making my own light, and after 10 months, it gets harder.
One thing I learned in sports, this was not the time to give up. This was the time to dig deeper. I never thought those brutal workouts were worth anything, but they were. They taught me that hard work pays off, and the more work you put in, the stronger you'll be. You'll create your own light.
We are now in 2021, there are vaccines rolling out, and the dim light is getting brighter. We just have to keep putting in the work, digging deep, and making sure to help one another.
If I've learned one lesson this past year, it's that we don't know what's around the next corner. Find a place of happiness, so when you turn another tough corner you are prepared to turn on your light and the light for others.