Last January, none of us could have predicted what 2020 held in store for the world.
I encourage everyone to take a moment, a deep breath, and think about the challenges that we have faced and the challenges yet to come in 2021.
What lessons have you learned in the past 12 months?
Lessons I have learned in 2020 and things I’m immensely grateful for:
- That you can order anything, and I mean anything, online and have it delivered. The entire world pivoted, and we learned to shop online for all of our needs and have them delivered or picked up curbside.
- That the definition of ‘essential workers’ was expanded to include the brave individuals who work in grocery stores, hardware stores, and pet stores to name a few. I describe these individuals as brave because in the beginning we truly did not understand COVID-19, and working in these settings in the past was never considered hazardous to your health.
- That shopping local and supporting small business is particularly important in 2020. I have shopped in the most unexpected places, and ordered take out from restaurants that I have never frequented before. It has been an eye-opening, wonderful experience.
- That as a society, we could protect patients in hospitals and nursing homes by staying home. This also demonstrates respect and gratitude for caregivers, nurses, doctors and first responders.
- That we are all truly social beings and miss our friends, family and loved ones. I will never again take for granted the privilege I have of spending time with the people that are important in my life.
- That we are creative and have developed a way for traditions to continue in untraditional ways. I know… a virtual anything is not as good as in-person, but think of all the creative ways we now connect:
- My family, which is scattered across the country, gets together regularly via Zoom to play trivia and balderdash.
- Santa Claus parades that you drive by instead of gathering on the curb.
- Weddings that are tiny and allow everyone to focus on the meaning of marriage.
- Dinners and special events (think award celebrations, conferences, and networking for business people) that are virtual, but allow for connections to happen.
- Zoom fitness classes.
- Tea in the backyard in December with blankets.
- That Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or Microsoft Teams, which at times has seemed dreadful, has allowed many healthcare and religious services to continue.
- I am truly grateful to all of you who have pivoted with me as I took my practice online. I know that at times it is not ideal, but it allows us to continue our work together. I look forward to the day when I can see people in person, and I miss seeing all of you in the office.
- Finally, I am acutely aware of my privilege during this time when so many have lost their jobs or businesses. Many people – from the cooks and servers at your local hangout to the healthcare professionals whose offices were forced to close in March – have experienced significant loss and devastating consequences.
Without a doubt, 2021 will be a defining year for humankind. The production and distribution of a vaccine is the next monumental challenge on the horizon. I am hopeful that together, we can continue to work until COVID-19 is a distant memory.
Wishing you all the best during this unusual holiday season. Take care. Be well.
Annette Poechman, BA, M.Ed., RP, CCC
Psychotherapy and Counselling Services