For a minute think the challenges of 2021. Think about what happened this year.
Three major things emerged that have strained our mental health and relationships.
The first is the Covid. At the very least, most people have been isolated by it. Out of context, that type of isolation is a major life event. In context, it’s the low end of a spectrum that includes job loss, severe illness, and death of a loved one.
The second is the political disruption. Without picking sides, it’s been a tough year. Whether you support President Trump or not, very few have been untouched by people who feel very strongly that you’re wrong.
The third is the racial upheaval. As a white guy, I don’t know what it’s like to be concerned that you might be the next Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, or George Floyd. But even I see and understand the damage that was done in downtown Minneapolis or even here in Tampa near the USF campus.
And those three things don’t include the wildfires in California, the wildfires in Australia, the locust plague in Africa, the Christmas day bombing in Nashville, murder hornets, an overactive hurricane season, and whatever personal travails you may have processed.
It probably hasn’t been pretty, but here you are.
It took me five years to understand what I accomplished in 2015. I was sick with a disease that doesn’t typically go away. I was neck-deep in a project from hell with one other person. The product we implemented didn’t work very well and there was much ass-kicking. Our boss died. I couldn’t go any more and went on partial disability–then got my claim denied. Then I spent a lot of time and effort and won my appeal.
And heading into 2016, I felt beaten up and professionally diminished. That was inappropriate.
In a year like this, showing up every damn day, doing the best you can–even if it doesn’t feel like enough–is victory. There are no style points in a year like this.
That’s not just a easily typed platitude to make you feel better. That’s from someone who’s gotten a small taste of hell and made it to the other side. The biggest mistake I made was not taking a little time to look at that year as if my best friend had just survived it–and be impressed with that friend’s tenacity and resilience.
This morning, that best friend is you.
You made it through one of the hardest years ever.
That’s a hell of a lot more than nothing.