My Personal Reflection on 2020
It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s time for a personal reflection on the crazy of 2020. If you remember, way back in January, I wrote a post as to why you should create a theme for the year (Why My Year Has a Them and Yours Should Too) and shared my theme. My theme for the year was Achieve. I set all these personal and professional goals for myself because I felt ready. But to be honest, this year turned out completely different. I didn’t achieve the majority of things I planned out. But I did something so much better – I truly reacquainted myself with myself and underwent tremendous growth and transformation.
And I’m here to share it with you and hopefully inspire you to reflect on this year went for you. Where did you end up compared to where you were going?
Where I thought 2020 Was Going To Go
I like everyone else was very optimistic about 2020 (it’s so laughable now, that I want to cry). It was the first year I felt that PPD released me from its death grip. I felt more energetic and ready to learn, grow, experience, get out of my hermitting ways. It was supposed to The Year. I mean it’s definitely been A Year. But as I’ve mentioned in My Sincere Gratitude Letter to 2020, it’s actually been a surprisingly positive year for me.
While there was a lot of pain in the beginning of the year, the pain forced me to undergo tremendous growth and self-discovery, while setting me on a path to self-healing through physical and emotional means. I thought I was going to Achieve this year and in a way I did. But mainly this year I Learned and Grew.
In the beginning of the year, I had plans to open a life coaching business. But I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do life coaching. So, I did what most people do – spent a ton of time watching multiple trainings on different ways to coach. And I came out unsatisfied every single time. I could not understand why it wasn’t connecting.
At one point, it was summer and I made zero progress in the coaching department. Clearly I wasn’t set on coaching after all, since I made no progress in making it a reality.
Another goal that I thought would be easy to achieve in 2020 is practicing yoga almost daily. I thought sure I could spare 10 minutes every day to stretch and meditate. But things didn’t work out in that department either. In fact, I found myself dealing with crippling exhaustion, physical pain, and PMDD (Pre-menstraul Dysphoric Disorder).
What I did achieve though is growing my blog. Yes, my blog traffic has not increased dramatically, but I created an Instagram account (www.instagram.com/parentonboard), got more serious about my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/parentonboarding), and started a parenting support group on Facebook (Parent On Board Parenting Support Group). All things that were not there prior to 2020. And that has been an amazing accomplishment for me.
I’ve met and collaborated with many mom bloggers, started to feel like a part of a community, and even made some online mom friends. So, to me, this has definitely ticked off my Achieve goal for 2020.
What Actually Happened to Me in 2020
Now that you’re in the loop about what I imagined for this year, here’s what actually happened.
I was very enthusiastic about buying up and taking multiple life coaching classes and joining every workshop on Facebook. And I stuck with it until March. I honestly felt so unsatisfied with all of them because there was always a huge upsell at the end of every free workshop. And I didn’t feel committed enough to want to spend another 5-10 grand on getting some sort of coaching certification. I’m already in debt after my 2 Master’s degrees that I still haven’t paid off, it just didn’t feel right.
And then March happened. My son’s school closed, uncertainty surrounded us, and both my husband and I experienced a level of anxiety that neither one of us experienced before. The next 2 months in our house were pure mayhem. Anxiety riddled parents led to horribly behaving children (since children soak up pretty much everything we, parents, put out) and thus survival mode began again. There wasn’t much achieving, but there was growth and learning.
Those 2 months led me to pursue psychology courses and parenting books that deepened my understanding of child behavior, and the role of temperament in a parent and child relationship. I discovered that both my eldest son and I are Highly Sensitive, and thus function somewhat differently than the majority of people. I dove into learning more about ADHD and its impact on emotions, behavior, and executive functioning. Overall, the pain and suffering of those 2 months led me on the deepest dive in my career, and also led to personal growth and discovery.
All the reading and learning has greatly improved my relationship with my son, and my relationship with parenting overall. Before finding out that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I could not understand why parenting felt so difficult and not fulfilling for me. But now I understand and can work with it. Knowing the truth about my temperament and my different brain wiring, allowed me to grow and become a much more peaceful parent. It taught me the value in taking breaks and space for myself. And it allowed me to be there for my Highly Sensitive son in a way, I wasn’t able to do before. But most importantly, it allowed me to enjoy parenting in a way that I never did before.
And all this discovery allowed me to crystalize my professional goals. Now, at the end of the year I am crystal clear that I want to go back to earning hours towards my MFT license, and later earn a specialization in Perinatal Mental Health. I know I want to help moms who are struggling, and I also want to help parents by implementing parenting techniques that are not only beneficial for their children, but are beneficial for them as well. I did not have this clarity when the year started.
Despite not being a practicing therapist for almost 8 years, I feel that I grew and discovered a professional voice I did not previously have. And to me, this growth is invaluable. I don’t think I’ve ever been this certain of where I want my life to go professionally. And for that I have to thank all the pain I went through since becoming a mother and the pain I went through this year. Without this pain and struggle, the growth would not have happened.
My physical challenges, on the other hand, left me feeling significantly less fulfilled. While I learned a lot about different natural and herbal remedies, I have struggled with finding something that has truly worked for me. I found some supplements to ease my PMDD symptoms for a while, but not completely. And I found supplements for my insomnia. But I’m still deeply struggling with being constantly exhausted and in dull physical pain. It makes parenting 2 very young boys extremely challenging. I simply can’t be as present or engaged with them as I would like to be. But I am working on it and trying to find solutions to my health crisis. It’s an ongoing process that I’m hoping will eventually bear fruit.
And while for some people being in the house with their spouse this year proved to be a challenge, it’s been one of the best years of our 17 year relationship. I so welcomed his company after being a lonely stay at home mom for 3 years prior. While we fought and struggled with all the lovely side effects of COVID anxiety in the beginning of the year, we started having deeper conversations and were finally able to truly come to an understanding of how we can make each other feel more fulfilled. We worked out our communication, we helped each other discover our strengths and weaknesses, and finally started functioning in a much more harmonious way. Overall, this year has done wonders for our relationship.
What Lesson You Can Learn From My 2020 Reflection
Now that you’ve read my story, I want you to do some work on yourself. I want you to sit and write down (if you haven’t already done so) what you imagined 2020 was going to look like for you, and then write down what actually happened. Look at what you wrote down and identify an overarching theme of this year. It may have been a positive one or it may have been a negative one. Either way, be honest with yourself. See what you can learn from the experience of this year.
What can you do differently in 2021, especially knowing that life still won’t be back to normal? Write down what strengths were unearthed this year and what weaknesses. Write down what do you want to commit to doing in the upcoming year. Make sure that you write down SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) and not broad resolutions. And if you need some help in this department, stay tuned. I will be putting out an article regarding setting SMART goals before the end of the year.
Cheers to 2020!