Hey, 2021, HEYYY!

Hey 2021! Welcome. Come on in and sit awhile. There’s something we need to talk about.

Namely, that WE HAVE SOME HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU.

Y’all, I don’t consider myself an authority on much, but I think I can safely speak for the entire world when I say that we are READY to put 2020 behind us.

Most of us are going strong on our New Year’s resolutions still, because, well, it’s Monday. It’s the 4th. If we give up now, we’ll look like punks.

I’ve said it before, but I am a big proponent of day planners and mindful organization of my time, so I make space at the end of every year to reflect, evaluate, and plan moving forward. Day planner day was a few weeks ago, and for Type-A geeks like me, it is a BIG DEAL, y’all. I invite my day-planning buddies over. We set out our pens and stickers and brand-spankin’-new planners. We laugh, we might even cry, and most importantly, we talk about the hard stuff, like how we did on goal-getting. And we map out a plan to make it happen for the coming months.

We also drink way too much coffee and pack away the carbs, but it’s the HOLIDAYS, so those carbs don’t count.

This year’s Day Planner Day had me in my FEELS. As a new mom, newly post-trauma and completely adrift, 2018 and 2019 were years that I struggled to get it together. I made some progress in some areas and stagnated in others, and at the end of 2019, Day Planner Day was a lot of firm self-talk. 2020 was going to be the year that I Got My Stuff Together. Hitting my weight loss goal, organizing my junk drawer, teaching my toddler to read and write in three languages, and running marathons.

You know. All the high points.

And then, you know. 2020. I ate my way through a pandemic. I consumed way too much content on social media, mindlessly scrolling through hours of other people’s opinions. I rolled my bicycle into the garage and left it there. I lost it more than a few times on my toddler, who, incidentally, was more interested in mixing play-doh into grotesque new colors than in French lessons.

Framing my year in all of the negatives makes it sound like 2020 was a bust. And that hurt my Type-A, overachieving little heart to the CORE.

But then, a little gentle prodding from a friend had me reframing my accomplishments in 2020:

I work a full-time job. I blog weekly. I’m active at church. I’m raising a toddler – a toddler who is happily enrolled in tumbling and cheer, which is a whole other LIFE, y’all. I work out at least 5 days a week. We eat wholesome, homemade meals at least 5 days a week. We have family time every single day – we read and connect and play and exercise together. My house is clean in a germaphobe-approved, company-can-stop-by-anytime-but-please-don’t-because-anxiety kind of way. I have daily reflection time each morning. I read. I listen to podcasts and TEDtalks. I wear actual makeup and style my hair every day. I travel (with my toddler) internationally.

And I do all of this alone, because my spouse works overseas. That means laundry and pest control and oil changes and tire rotations and doctor and dentist appointments and gifts for the teacher because it’s teacher appreciation day or donations for the church drive or cupcakes for the class or wine for my coworker or grocery pickup for my pregnant sister or thank you cards or play dates or budgeting or bills or comparing rates or preschool programs or unplugging the drain…. It’s all on my plate.

I’m not complaining. I’m so, so grateful for my life and the blessings I’ve been given. I know who sends the wind that fills my sails, and I’m never truly alone.

But the truth is, it’s a LOT. And until I listed all of those things in detail, all I could see were the negatives about 2020. I’m still not a size 0. My toddler can’t speak any other languages, and sometimes English is a struggle, if we’re being real. I didn’t Dave Ramsey my way to a debt-free villa in the hill country. I didn’t color in all of the boxes in my ‘Books Read With EV 2020’ chart.

But I did stuff. Little stuff. Big stuff. Stuff that was incredibly uncomfortable to type out, because we’re (I’m) so engrained with the notion that I can’t cast myself in a positive light or celebrate my own accomplishments without being prideful. So much, in fact, that I struggle to turn off that learned reluctance to recognize little victories.

So in reality, that incredibly random assortment of big and small accomplishments that I’m ticking off my list is actually, well, BIG. It’s big because I’ve lived through depression and anxiety and I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by just getting out of bed. It’s big because putting one foot in front of the other, ignoring the lies depression and anxiety like to whisper, and knocking it out of the park one task at a time takes effort.

And that’s something to be celebrated.

So when you’re considering giving up your diet today, or you feel like 2020 was a complete failure and you’re struggling with giving yourself grace – flip your script. List your accomplishments – all of them. Did you floss more than once a month? YOU’RE A STAR. Did you manage to not outgrow all of your pants, because CARBS? You’re amazing. Did your child go to sleep each night knowing they are loved? You’re the best.

For all the things you did or didn’t accomplish in 2020, let’s start 2021 with grace and determination. If anything is going to turn around a bus like 2020, it will be those two things, coupled with a little bit of caffeine and a whole lot of Jesus.

Hey, 2021. LET’S DO THIS.

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