Thanks, 2020 :: Finding Gratitude in the Dumpster Fire

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What A Year It’s Been!

There’s no question that 2020 is a year we are all ready to see go on its way. I feel certain I don’t have to list the reasons for you. You lived through this year with me! I started the year with unusual optimism and motivation. I have a list of goals framed in my bedroom I made on January 1st. It’s still there for comic relief, mostly. In searching for an ornament to sum up 2020, my husband and I considered purchasing one of the many “2020 dumpster fire” ornaments out there on the internet.

But the other day, as I was enjoying snuggle time with my quarantine dog, Annie, I had an obvious realization. If it weren’t for Covid, she wouldn’t be part of our family. Then I considered if that’s true, what other good things would I have missed out on if not for this crazy year? Perhaps 2020, along with all of its grief, has also given me a lot of goodness. The good can be hard to see when I forget to look for it, of course.

I don’t offer this 2020 gratitude practice as a way to silver-line what has been a really dark year. The losses our world have experienced are incredibly real, and they must be grieved. Those loses are still coming, and many have been gut-wrenching. But I have found this old quote hanging on my fridge resonating more deeply than ever with me: Life, even in the hardest times, is full of moments to savor. They will not come this way again, not in this way. (Paula Rinehart)

Maybe, like me, you’re ready to say so long to 2020. Maybe you too are hoping and praying that 2021 is a kinder year for us all. Let’s hold on to that hope! And let’s also remember to shine the light onto our experiences in 2020. Let’s examine what this year offered us that is real, meaningful, and worth carrying into the future. 

“Thanks to 2020, I . . .”

  • Brought a new dog into the family, who gives seriously good cuddles. 
  • Began the adoption journey, and we’re waiting for a match. 
  • Spent countless hours in nature and went on more camping trips than I ever could have expected when I made my 2020 intentions.
  • Learned just how resilient, flexible, and adaptable I really am. 
  • Spent more one-on-one time with my four year old while working from home this year than I probably did over the first 3 years of his life. I also watched him and my husband become the sweetest of playmates.
  • Learned (and continue to learn) more about how to be antiracist and challenge my white privilege and fragility in new ways. 
  • Became more passionate and courageous to stand up for what I believe is right. 
  • Reconnected with old hobbies and discovered a couple of new ones.
  • Finally watched all of the Star Wars movies and finished Schitt’s Creek. The hubs and I spent a lot of quality time in front of the t.v. this year!

Thanks to 2020, Birmingham Mom Collective Contributors . . .

I could go on. But instead I’ll let some other BMC contributors share their thanks. Our site content this year has been a testament to our shared losses and gratitudes, so it feels only right to give them a voice here as well. 

Ericka says, “Thanks to 2020, I . . .”

  • Learned how to look for rainbows in the midst of a storm.
  • Took time to write letters to people I love.
  • Got to spend lots of extra time with my daughter (after missing the first four years of her life).
  • Reconnected with old friends.
  • Had more time to garden. Next year we’ll have more flowers in our yard than ever before!
  • Learned the Serenity Prayer really does work.
  • Learned how to rest, set boundaries, and pursue peace.

Christine says, “Thanks to 2020, I . . .”

  • Found the confidence and motivation to finally take the leap and start writing with the amazing ladies of Birmingham Mom Collective.
  • Slowed down our crazy pace of life and pruned some things I should have long ago.
  • Made my self-care and “me” time a non-negotiable priority, instead of it being an after-thought once I tended to everyone else’s needs.
  • Feel like I gained some freedom. I was juggling way too much and this feels so much better. And I’m a better mom! I’m not so frazzled and pulled and overwhelmed.

Courtney says, “Thanks to 2020, I . . .”

  • Was given much needed and appreciated family time while my husband worked from home.
  • Tackled lots of home improvement projects we have wanted to do.
  • Am currently pregnant with our quarantine baby!

Betsy says, “Thanks to 2020, I…” 

  • watched my kids use their free time to play imaginatively together.
  • gained contentment from being at home as a family and seeing the relationships my daughters have with one another.
What are you thankful for as 2020 comes to a close? I would love for you to share your gratitudes with us in the comments below!
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Katie, a native Alabamian, came to Birmingham in 2012 to pursue a master's from UAB in Mental Health Counseling. She works as a Licensed Professional Counselor in her practice, Present Wellness Counseling, LLC, as well as in a residential treatment center for substance abuse. She and her husband were married in 2007 and have a son, Harpin, who's been keeping them busy since 2016. She is learning daily how to bridge her child development background with real-life motherhood moments, and she is excited to share these experiences with her BMB readers. Katie loves any time spent outside, loves opening her home to share meals with friends, and loves her faith community. She practices yoga and Reiki, and leads meditation groups for developing self-compassion. You can find out more about her practice and her upcoming community trainings at her website, PresentWellnessCounseling.com.