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  • Writer's pictureJaya Koilpillai Bohlmann

Thank you, 2020

What? Thank you? To the year that brought unprecedented sickness, poverty, hunger and general misery? Yes, thank you to that year.

It's not that I escaped any of the above. I lost two immediate family members and was challenged professionally, financially, socially and as a parent, child and sibling. I had crises of conscience and times of overwhelming loneliness and doubt. I lay awake nights, heart pounding, almost afraid of morning and the day ahead. I know millions and millions of people around the world experienced similar, and also worse.

No, it's not because 2020 was kind that I offer it gratitude. It's because, in spite - or because - of the way the year went, my heart and mind expanded with these observations and lessons:

  • If viruses can spread across the globe in a matter of weeks, so can generosity, kindness and unselfishness.

  • The world will do what it will; we can only control ourselves - our emotions, our actions, our words, our beliefs.

  • Home is truly where our hearts are. Never have I been so grateful for the green grass of my yard, the cool stones of my patios, the refreshing waters of my pool, the caring of my neighbors, the safety of my own four walls!

  • I love my workouts, and I can do them at home! Thanks to my welcoming neighborhood sidewalks and streets, I can run freely. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I can practise yoga serenely. In my pajamas, if I want.

  • I adore home deliveries of all kinds - food, household goods, gifts, treats, reading and research material... Thank you, thank you to all the courageous men and women who dutifully brought me these wonderful items of care and solace.

  • Technology is heaven-sent. Although it seemed like such a pain at the time to upgrade WiFi and router, computers, cameras, office space and lighting, it has opened opportunities for me to participate in and lead meetings and get together with people I love in ways we probably would not have thought of pre-pandemic.

  • Health is everything, the only thing. My sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones due to COVID. My own family losses were due to non-COVID illnesses, and the shock of those losses reverberate still. I know I am part of a global grieving. In this, we are connected in ways that can comfort and heal.

  • Meanwhile, let's really take our bodies seriously and maintain our health in EVERY way we can. We have the information we need to stay strong and mostly disease-free. Take all the expert advice available to you. Stay well. Spread health.

  • Staying at home is cozy and fun. I missed restaurants, special occasion outings, in-person meetings and classes. I loved - maybe even more - binging on Netflix and Disney+ shows and movies with my family, changing for dinner (into our bathrobes at 6 p.m.), celebrating birthdays with low-key outdoor meals warmed by fire pits and the sun.

  • We are connected as a global community, and are responsible not only for ourselves and our families, but to all our brothers, sisters, neighbors of all countries, languages, religions, economies, beliefs and practices. +

While I am focused on gratitude to 2020, I openly, wholeheartedly welcome 2021 as a time to renew, refresh, to be born again, to see all things made new.

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