Hindsight is 2020
I, myself, barely chuckled when I heard someone tell me that today, January 1, 2021, would be the first day ever where hindsight is actually 2020. But I’ve used it multiple times since. It sticks. Sticking is important.
Like it was for so many people, 2020 was one of the most difficult years of my life when looking at it objectively.
- Bo (our 7-year old) got Lyme’s disease from a tick bite which was actually a relief to find out relative to other ailments the doctors feared he might have that night in the emergency room last spring.
- Our 17-year old daughter, Tibby, has struggled terribly with mental health culminating in her own trip to the ER in May which is the last time she’s been home. After weeks at an institution in southern Vermont, she went to Utah for a 10-week wilderness therapy “expedition” (which we all should do I’m convinced) and now is enrolled at Discovery Ranch for Girls in Cedar City, Utah. We miss her so much but are encouraged to be seeing positive changes every day. In 2021 she’ll finally get to come home as things stand.
- Boloco, my business of 23 years, fell to its knees when Covid hit in March. Other than our Hanover, NH location which is a separate legal entity, our planned and expected shut down of all operations permanently was August 28. The weeks and months leading up to that decision were tortuous in more ways than I can describe. The fact that on this first day of 2021 we are planning to have most re-opened this coming month is a miracle which I’ll share more about in the near future.
- Worthee’s fundraising efforts came to a quick halt in March after a less abrupt pause in February as we realized we had not accomplished enough to raise significant venture funding. The dream that building a cool app to support people in low wage jobs would take off like a rocket at Cape Canaveral wasn’t to be.
- My mom was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer this November that had spread to the bones in her spine. For weeks our entire family waited as news gradually grew worse. Finally, it was deemed treatable so the urgency of the situation has dissipated, but hearing her suffer in so much pain at 80 years old put an emphasis on how 2020 wasn’t going to relent until its very last day.
- In the luxury challenge category, the place I’ve relied on for peace and grounding my entire life, our cottage in Pointe au Baril, Ontario, was completely cut off as the Canadian border shut down on March 21st and has remained shut ever since. Izzy (15) and I actually attempted to cross the border in June – as strong an effort as you could make – and were finally sent back with no hope in sight.
I could go on, and I know you could too. But is this long string of negativity how I will remember 2020? It’s not. I came to appreciate 2020 like no other year since the easier years of my childhhood.
I’ll start with another luxury challenge to flip this conversation around. Our very large home in Norwich, VT clearly had become too much on so many levels. At 6,500 SF plus barns and 40 acres of land, it embarrassed our daughters and given the financial uncertainty of our businesses it was time to pull the plug and sell. In our gut we had known it for a few years even trying unsuccessfully to sell it in 2018. This year was different though. We listed it in August and had an offer within weeks. The day before Thanksgiving, we left VT after 17 years and crossed the river to Hanover, NH. Our home sold quickly to a family from outside the area who bought it sight unseen. Only 2020 could have delivered such swift closure.
The silver lining? The modest 2,000 SF 2-bedroom home we bought in Hanover is just perfect. Complete with fixtures and such dating back to the 50s and 60s, a kitchen from the 70s, and a steep 1 acre lot with no back yard to speak of, we overlook Mink Brook and its like living in the cottage we couldn’t get to in Canada this summer. And the stress financially has entirely disappeared. Every day we all exclaim how much we love being here, in closer quarters to each other, and this simply would never have even occurred to us as a possibility had it not been for 2020, Covid, and the many negative things we battled.
- I put 366 more days together and abstained from any alcoholic beverages for the entire year… the first time I’ve done that since the early 80’s when I was a 12 or 13. I’ll write more about sobriety this year, but that alone alone allowed me to genuinely find a positive spin on even the worst challenges of this past year. For the record, today is Day 394 since my last drink.
- I spent more time being present with the kids and with Maggie. Less travel, less events, less everything meant we just could “be”… and it’s been such a gift. I look forward to every day for that reason alone, even if its only 30 minutes, or an hour. I can always “fit in” family… for some strange reason I couldn’t always accomplish that pre-covid and perhaps pre-sobriety.
- Despite Tibby’s being away, its opened up conversations during therapy sessions that feel important and powerful, have helped all of us become more aware of our impact on others, and I am hopeful she emerges the better for this than would have been the case had none of it ever taken place.
- I have been able to accept challenging situations that seemed unfathomable without getting angry or letting them eat away at me for hours and days at a time. Accepting the realities that Covid and 2020 have brought to light have mostly just illustrated what an incredibly lucky human being I am, and despite having far less resources than I once did, bolsters my desire to give and give back on a daily basis.
So many silver linings came out of 2020 – too many to list. But I think and talk about them in bits and pieces every day, and hope to carry them with me into this new year.
I’m really excited for 2021 because of the perspective 2020 provided. I know more than ever the kind of human being I want to be, and have better tools than ever to be that person.
Happy New Year!