Hello and Happy New Years!
I hope you and your family are having a restful holiday season and New Years! A lot of us had to change our usual norms this year due to public health guidelines and restrictions, but we made the adjustments and found out that it’s possible to still have a good holiday season in different and unique ways.
What a year for the history books! None of us have likely experienced anything quite like last year (yes, it’s ok to say “last year” now, and don’t forget to change your date to 2021 when signing documents 😉 ).
So much has happened this last year in my life personally and professionally, but also nationally and globally. Even the worst pessimist couldn’t have predicted all that this year entailed.
8 Changes in 2020
My wife and I are grateful for the jobs we’ve maintained, and at the same time our hearts go out to those who lost them. I had the opportunity to work three long-term substitute teacher positions in a local school district, which was unexpected, and Naomi continued in her vital communications role at UW Medicine to help the hospital manage the overwhelming changes due to the pandemic.
My wife Naomi contracted Covid but thankfully recovered after a very rough few weeks of painful and uncomfortable symptoms and time off work. You can read about her story here. Some of our immediate and extended families also contracted Covid and survived, and some of them didn’t. It seems loss is near so many of us.
3. Public Health Measures
My state of Washington was hit the hardest in the early weeks of the pandemic so we had a more severe lockdown. Just a few miles away from us was the original epicenter. Social distancing and mask wearing became fairly normal in public spaces by early to mid April for many states.
4. Remote Work
Many of us switched to remote work. Unless you already worked from home, this switch was likely a huge change that brought lots of big and small adjustments. Like many of you, my wife and I had to learn how to work in close proximity, eat lunches together, and keep ourselves sane in the process. It was a bumpy road at first. It’s amazing the things we take for granted as “normal” when we spend only 4-5 hours a day with our spouse and then all of the sudden see them all the time. We managed it but not without a lot of communication so that we could each feel heard and on the same page.
5. Church Community
Because our state was hit hard, it was out of the abundance of precaution that many churches stopped meeting in person, ours included. So we adapted and met as a church exclusively online. Sunday services were recorded live and home groups got quickly acquainted with Zoom, Skype or other video calling apps. The personal touch of seeing other human beings in person has been a challenge for all of us because after all we need people and they need us. It’s very human to invest yourself in in-person relationships. But we all made adjustments for the good others in order to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.
One of the most popular video calling applications used during the pandemic, Zoom became normalized as the new vehicle of communication for millions of Americans. And whether you used Zoom or not, it began to represent all other video calling apps as people talked about doing a “Zoom call.”
7. Political Conflict
Probably the hardest and most uncomfortable feature of 2020 was the escalation of political tensions many of us felt throughout the year. From the impeachment trial of President Trump, to the spread of Covid-19 and a global pandemic, to public health measures, to the murder of George Floyd and the global protests for racial equality, to Covid-19 testing and the race to create a vaccine, to the Nov 3 election, to the escalation in conspiracy theories and misinformation, to heated disagreements with family and friends, it’s been quite year in politics. No matter which side of the aisle you identify with, the conflict has been real and difficult. My wife and I, who have our own differences of opinion on various political topics, found the book I love you but I hate your politics a breath of fresh air and insightful for how to better interact with each other and other family members. I hope you have learned some techniques to help bring calm to situations that may otherwise be contentious.
8. New Normal
With all of these events in 2020, it seems that our world has changed in profound ways. Some of those changes are temporary and some perhaps permanent. I hope that you might find the resources and support you need to adjust to the new normals that we find ourselves in 2021.
Wishing you all well and a happy new year!
How did you creatively work through this year?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your stories of 2020.
Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema