A Letter to Myself to End 2020

When I reach the end of the year, I try to avoid reflecting anymore than it’s right to do. I don’t love the ‘New Year, New Me‘ energy, so I typically avoid resolutions. My first post of this year was about taking steps forward, even if I didn’t know what was on the staircase. And despite everything, despite the exhausting, depressing, unforgiving year that 2020 turned out to be, I continued to step forward. Rather than reflect on the year itself, I decided to write a note to myself – of reflection and strength.

Dear Nathan,

This year has been…something. You have a tendency to say that every year was a lot, but truly, this year has been unlike any other. While aspects of this year will continue on to 2021, there were countless days and moments that made 2020 unique. Moments that hopefully, you may not have to every experience again. But most importantly, you have made it to the end of 2020, and you are safe. You are healthy – physically, you’ve survived 2020; mentally, you learned techniques to help you through this year, and even learned new skills that will make you stronger in 2021. You have received lessons time and again that you are loved and that you matter, which has only made you a stronger advocate for yourself and for mental health.

Like everyone else, this year wasn’t a bed of roses. At times, you struggled. Many times, you wanted to give up. You didn’t know if you have the mental strength or energy to continue. Sometimes, it didn’t feel like you had a choice, so you continued on. You made decisions as best you could, and tried to put yourself first on occasion for what felt like the very first time. Sometimes it worked out. Other times, less so. Either way, you learned – about yourself, and about the world you live in.

You got to know yourself this year. You do that every year, but something felt different this year. And there are some people to thank for that. They helped you. Not only did they give you strength, but they gave you confidence, reassurance, resilience – even when you couldn’t accept what they were offering. They believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. Your team got larger, and it got stronger – and your mental health is better for it.

You won’t bring everything you learned this year into the next. And you shouldn’t. Bring what you need, and leave the rest behind. Reboot, recharge and reload. Mental health has always been important to you, and that importance grew substantially this year. It will grow next year. You will continue stepping forward, even if you can’t see the entire staircase. You’ll trust your gut, and not your head. You’ll be right sometimes, and wrong sometimes. But you’ll continue to persevere. This year year knocked you down – it knocked everyone down – but you didn’t stay down. And I hope you continue to do the same next year. The work is just getting started. Buckle up.

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