2020 has been a year of exhaustion, refocus, more exhaustion, more refocus. Pivoting. Being paralyzed. Stressing. Relaxing. Sleeping more. Stressing more. And frankly wondering what in the heck I’m doing.
In quarantine I’ve been like hamster on a wheel. 1,000% in a cage. Going a hundred miles an hour with nowhere to go. The industry I work in vanished overnight. I found the need to create a new “income stream”. Hence the pivoting, refocus, paralysis….At the end, I’ve accomplished very little.
I “should” have handled it better. After all, I know how to do this. Embrace change. Deal with elements I’m not in control of. Live with the fear of losing a lot. I got this down.
And I do “handle it” considering I’ve been down this road before. With all my lack of grace and competency in 2020, I have remembered and held on to something very important.
The greatest lesson I learned in my past trek of getting sick, almost dying, living in financial straits, having PTSD and struggling with depression (how’s that for a positive sentence) is this:
In the abundance of fear, illness, lack of control, and stress, many of us have had to face scarcity for the first time in our lives. Scarcity of toilet paper beginning in March, scarcity of space in our homes, scarcity of jobs, scarcity of time, scarcity of support and scarcity of security/stability.
The tendency to hoard, to hold on, to hide out when things are scarce is a natural reaction. Recognizing the abundance you still have is a way to release some of the fear. Release some of the stress.
Abundance helps you release that tight grasp. Abundance helps you move towards a more open heart. A more open hand to give.
In the old days (pre-2020) we didn’t recognize all that we had. It was almost grotesque how much we took for granted. We walked into grocery store and got whatever we wanted, paid our bills, sent our kids to school while we worked, met with friends, watched sports, ate out on Tuesday…Wednesday…pretty much any day so we didn’t have to cook.
Yet we complained because, with all we had, we were still discontent.
Then came 2020. With it came scarcity. We crammed into our houses and had to look at the people we lived with in the eye. Some for the first time in a long time. We looked at the décor on our walls and the items shoved in the back of our closets. We looked at our emails and the news wondering if our jobs were next. We looked at the food we ate, the shows we watched, and the photos of the people we missed. We took a long hard look at our life.
With the lack of space, time, friendships and freedom we began to learn a very important lesson. A lesson contrary to every success book, every entrepreneur “secrets to being amazing”, every advertisement trying to entice us to buy more. A lesson I learned in a hospital bed.
Let me repeat that: Life happens in the small.
-Homeschooling your kids while you worked and finding that little bit of heaven when nobody bothered you in the bathroom for 10 whole minutes. A small thing that meant so much.
-When loneliness crept in and your dog or cat hopped on your lap and looked you in the eye telling you there’s not just you. With him or her there’s always two.
-When taking a walk in the fresh air and open spaces lifted our butts off the bed and our mood in ways we never noticed before. A small thing that changed our whole day.
-When your paycheck came it held more significance. That job you hated was a lifeline you didn’t know you had.
-The phone or zoom call from family or friends – now took top priority.
-When the holidays came and you remembered eating your Grandma’s meal as a child. A small moment in the grand scheme of your life. But now the memories and the meaning hold such sweet abundance.
-Your health meant more. Having 8 rolls of toilet paper meant more. Watching your kids actually grow in front of your literal eyes. It all means more.
-There’s been abundance in our scarcity. Because we are forced to notice all the things we took for granted and missed.
When you think of the happiest moments of your life-most are in the small. Playing outside with your friends until dark. Driving in the front seat of your dad’s pick-up truck. The first time he or she caught your eye. Playing in the snow. Watching the waves. Getting your first small promotion. Laughing uncontrollably with someone you loved. This is where life happened. In the small.
In 2020 we’ve been faced with scarcity which has caused us to live in the small. This is where the abundance of real life-the good, the bad, and meaningful- all happens.
My hope is as life moves forward into 2021 and we find ourselves in something new, yet all too familiar, that we each remember the lessons we’ve learned. For so long we blindly believed the lie that more is always better. Bigger house, better job, more money, better body. Push harder. Be more. Do more.
May we remember what it meant to be squashed in a house full of people we loved and hated and loved some more. May we remember the value of having a small bowl of soup with someone special that far outweighs a fancy meal in a room full of people we don’t know. May we remember the value of a paycheck our hard work brings. May we remember the feeling of gratitude of having good health. May we remember all the small moments, all the small gifts, that made our life abundant in all the scarcity.
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Stacy Pederson is a funny motivational Keynote Speaker, who’s almost died a bunch.