2020 put us all through the wringer. I know I am not alone in that feeling.  When I stop and think about it, the amount of mental and emotional stress we all went through is unreal. Working from home, loss of social circles, fear of getting sick. Do not even get me started on remote learning for my second grader. I was feeling stuck in an endless loop of stress and it did not feel good! Recently, I saw some headlines that mention how we have all aged at a higher rate this past year than usual. I don’t know if that has been scientifically proven, but it sure as hell feels true.

Now that most of us are coming out of the major lockdowns, sending our kids back into the classrooms, and essentially reemerging into the world, it feels like I am slowly coming out of some long, hellish, forced hibernation. Even with daylight saving time, waking up has never felt so good.

Looking back, if I had to use one word to describe these past 12 months, it would be UNCOMFORTABLE. There’s nothing quite like forced isolation to bring you face to face with some inescapable truths. Truths, that honestly, I did not like learning. But that is the thing about growth, isn’t it? The big life lessons usually do not come from the easy times. They almost always come from the hard times. For me, my hard lesson was this: I was using my everyday responsibilities and duties to distract myself from the fact that I was not satisfied with my life.

Now, do not confuse unsatisfied with unhappy. I am happy with my life. What I mean by unsatisfied is that I wanted more out of my life, but it wasn’t happening. I was uncomfortable because I was not living up to my capabilities. Under the harsh light of COVID, I saw that I have systematically lost parts of myself as I have moved through life and reached certain domestic milestones (marriage, having a child etc.). The goals I once had right in front of me were slowly and methodically pushed down and out of view in favor of doing all that I thought I was supposed to be doing for everyone else.

So, I took that uncomfortable feeling and decided to do something productive with it. I figured out a simple plan to start moving forward towards the goals I never really forgot about. I finally figured out that if I wanted something different out of life, I was the only one who could make it happen. I know it sounds silly, and you may be saying “Duh!”, but until I opened my eyes to the hard truths of how I was really feeling, I just wasn’t seeing it. My ego was putting up the roadblock of fear in my path and steering me away from my own power.

No one ever said that life was going to be easy, and 2020 sure as hell proved that. But if we want anything to change in our lives, no matter if it’s during a pandemic or otherwise, it all begins with ourselves. No cheap tricks or short cuts. We’ve got to do the work. And I for one, couldn’t be more ready. Are you?