What I Discovered About Myself From 2020

If there was one thing that 2020 could show you about yourself what would it be?   

Did it show you something good about who are, or something that needs work? 

Or was it more like me, more of a mix? 

2020 was soooo EXTRA. It’s hard to not be aware of how much has changed, not just externally, but inwardly as well. 

I know, there’s been so much destruction this year, but I feel like there’s so much more to the story with 2020.  There’s always something to learn and grow from surviving a year like 2020.

What I discovered about myself in 2020 was that I do not sufficiently value my own strength.   

I should have already known this, but this year reminded me of how much I undervalue this incredible asset.  COVID-19 is not my first pandemic. I’m living with HIV and in active recovery from addiction. I’ve been surviving both of those vicissitudes for years now.  

Yet, even after maintaining my health, my sobriety—my response is to shrug, like it’s no big deal.  I tell myself, all the things that didn’t happen to me:  “Oh, I didn’t go bankrupt, I didn’t lose my home, I didn’t get horribly ill from COVID-19, so then I didn’t really have it hard at all.”  

But you know what, I’m calling bullshit on myself.   

It’s true; I didn’t experience those horrible things, but I also don’t acknowledge that I did a lot to prevent those things from happening too. 

I was vigilant about mask wearing, hand washing, limiting myself in public places.  I hustled to find work when other opportunities dried up.  I kept on top of my medical appointments and I used what I learned from my past to cultivate emotional and mental stamina.  Given my record, the fact that I made significant life gains while maintaining my health is truly remarkable.   

It’s evidence of healing and growth that are taking place in my life.  

Alternatively, I gained a lot of weight.  By the end of March 2020, I was at my best body ever!  I was lean muscle at 160 pounds gained from a healthy diet and swimming and weight training on the daily.  With the pool and gym closed, I eventually stopped exercising for about 8 months and began to comfort eat. 

What I discovered was how quick I’ve been to use this to minimize my other gains.   

I tell myself; a strong person would not have let themselves go like that.  But you know what, that’s just being abusive.  It’s true, there’s something to learn, something to gain from that experience—and I am.  The pool and gym are back open, and I am slowly working my way towards achieving my body goals.  But, again, the reality is that recognizing my strength can be just a recognition of what I was able to accomplish despite the challenging environment.   

This time, I’m taking what I’ve earned.  I’m reminding myself that when I can own my  strength, when I can recognize its value—it means I can leverage it to grow. More than anything that’s what I want more of for 2021.   

This is what I discovered about myself in 2020: If I don’t recognize my strength, then it means I’m failing to understand how to use my gifts in life. The truth is I am strong and I need to realize, honor and use it to build myself up so that I can be of service, building a better world.