2020 – The Year (We) Didn’t Know (We) Needed

Wow, it’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

I needed a break. A real break. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a long time; simultaneously meeting the expectations of those around me while pursuing personal goals that would lead me to a life by my own design. Day after day of work after work and sacrificing a personal life to build a business finally caught up with me.

Who knew 2020 was exactly the kind of year I needed. And I honestly think that’s true for a lot more of us than we think. No, it hasn’t been easy or comfortable by any means, but it has certainly been the opportunity to face your life head-on, whether you were ready or not.

This year has forced many of us to hit the “pause-button.” And while that has come with more than our fair-share of sorrow in the form of lost jobs, illnesses, isolation, and injustice, there has also been space for us to breathe; an opening for centering oneself and re-prioritizing.

When was the last time you were able to slow down?

When was the last time you were able to actually say “no” to things you didn’t want to do?

When was the last time you had time to prioritize loved ones and hobbies?

When was the last time you were able to spend time with yourself and actually listen?

Spending time alone this year was hard, but it has yielded so much growth. There were less distractions, less options to run away, less people and tasks to focus our energy on. And I hope that we’ve all come out on the other side a little more honest with ourselves.

Just before Christmas, my brother sent me some home videos. They’re ones I’ve seen 100x before, but something about them hit me differently. I was watching myself run around in a crop top and one sneaker care-free and giggling as I ran through a sprinkler in the summertime, and I had such admiration for this little wild-child.

Those of you who’ve been reading my content over the years know that I’ve spent a majority of my time carrying-on about trauma and healing and building a better version of ourselves as we navigate our purpose in this world. But, for some reason watching this video made me more awake. Or maybe, more aware of how much healing I’ve actually done. For once, I’m at a loss for words on how to describe how watching this video made me feel.

First of all, I was able to recognize my parents in a more loving way. I considered the way my mom lit up every time I ran towards her. I felt deep compassion for her as I thought about how much I needed her and relied on her; she was always there to respond, and she loved me so much. And my dad, he provided so much laughter: spinning me around, blowing raspberries on my tummy, and speaking goofy words in a silly voice.

I looked at my parents as real, human people; people who were trying to maintain their own friendships and sense of selves as they navigated life with two very hyper kiddos. And it was so beautiful. I admired them through this screen with such a loving heart: my mom, my dad, and myself. We’re all just people trying to survive in this crazy world. We’re all making the best decisions we can, doing what we think is best while staying true to ourselves and protecting our own insecurities.

This doesn’t change the past; it doesn’t change the things that have happened and the missing pieces of what my inner-child craves. However, it does allow me to close the door. Or, at least to focus on something else; to focus on moving forward. I’ve spent so much time healing from the past and trying to “fix” what has been broken for such a long time. And I finally feel like I’m okay. That I’ve healed enough to move forward. That I have to come to peace with what has been and can really focus on the life I wish to create for myself.

And thank God. Because I just turned 30. And no, I’m not old by any means, but I am ready to stop letting time pass me by and start living it. I mean… I have been living it. I guess that’s just a cliche phrase to say. I am really proud of the life I’ve lived up to this point (as much as I can be), but there’s been this ache of an open wound. That ache is fading. I can now move forward, not just out of determination for something better, but out of peace and love.

Watching this videos from a place of healing also allowed me to step back and take an honest look at my current life:

  • I’ve always wanted to be an ultra-marathoner… I’ve completed one, I loved it, and I’ve got a calendar full of more opportunities for the next year.
  • I’ve always wanted to pack up my car and travel… I now own a car. I am currently in NC after more than 2 months away from my home, driving wherever my heart desired.
  • I’ve always wanted to make enough money to fuel my passions and give to causes I care about… I don’t love my job, but I finally can breathe, give, and enjoy without thinking twice.

I am an ultra-marathoner.

I am a traveller.

I am a giver, and secure in my means.

No, not everything is perfect. Yes, I still have a long list of goals to be achieved, but I am so proud of where I am right now. And all this in a year labelled as “the worst yet.” I think we’re gonna be okay…

Ultramarathon training. Let’s talk about that for a second.

During this pandemic I decided to focus all my energy on completing an ultra marathon. For the entirety of 2020, I spent 5 days a week racking up mileage, disciplining my body, and focusing my mind on pushing myself further than I ever have before, physically. I maintain that without the pandemic: without the work-from-home or the forced “no” to social gatherings I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

Through the hours of pounding pavement, I gave my brain and my body permission to be “still” (metaphorically) and focus only on the task at hand. Some people do yoga, some people sit in silence, some people chant… I run. Running is my meditation. And through the training I was able to develop a practice in which I could be present, be honest, and let the unnecessary junk go.

I think that was more instrumental in coming to this place of healing than I realized. Only in writing this am I fully understanding the benefits of that time I took for myself. Physical activity, I’ll tell you what – it’s a game-changer in getting your mind right.

This writing isn’t my best. Maybe because I’m at peace; because I’m no longer writing from this gaping hole of pain and angst. I’m just good. I’m happy. I’m content. I’m also knee-deep in my third beer….!

There’s plenty of things I want to accomplish and goals I’m still striving for, but there’s nothing here that I’m wrestling with. Other than the idea that my writing sucks when it’s not from that place of unwell-ness.

So anyway. What’s the point of this? Any season of struggle is also a season of opportunity. 2020 was definitely a challenge – what did you do with it?

If there’s anything I have learned it’s that I’m okay. I’m okay, and the world is bigger than me… I’d like to be more present in it.


…. and once you’ve found it, live it EVERY. DAY. #LiveYourMAVERICK

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