2020 will be one for the history books. A global pandemic. Financial hardships. Political unrest, and the continued fight for ethnic and racial equality. My heart breaks for everyone who lost someone, fell on hard times, or had to make difficult choices.
It has been a very hard year. Yet, though we are still grappling with the devastation brought on by COVID-19, not everything in 2020 has been bad.
More women were elected to power. Long overdue conversations on race and equality are taking place; there were technological and medical advancements, and nurses and doctors got much-deserved recognition for their tireless efforts.
I recently asked a group of local women in the Durham Region of Ontario to share some of the good experiences they have had this year, and the response was overwhelming. Some of the things they shared included:
- Finding love and ending unhealthy relationships
- Friends getting engaged
- Getting married
- Decluttering and getting rid of items that don’t spark joy
- Seeing positive environmental impacts like mother earth resting
- Getting pregnant
- Quitting drinking
- Getting a sign bylaw amendment approved by a city council banning symbols of hate and creating a new EDI Blueprint to accelerate equity, elevate diversity, and foster inclusion
- Spending quality time with children and family
- Spending more time outdoors and in nature
- Finding inner peace and better mental health
- Getting new jobs and leaving toxic ones
- Taking stock of and assessing their life
- Becoming a published author
- Paying off a lot of debt
- Renovating a home
- Launching a new business
- Embracing and changing their perspective
- Losing weight and starting new exercise regimes
- Re-evaluating their priorities
- Investing in themselves and their goals
- Getting to know their work colleagues better
- Simplifying their lives in a good way
- Connecting with their creativity
- Sharing more love with their community
- Having support from family members that now all live under one roof
- The Canadian Embassy personally coming to Central America to rescue a group member, their husband, and fellow lifeguards as well as get a police escort to the hospital to make it home safe
- Taking and acting upon new opportunities
- Winning awards and certifications
- Learning and starting to teach courses on Zoom
- Reducing mortgage payments
- Coordinating gifts for those in need
- Exploring their city and province
- Learning new hobbies and skills
- Using affirmations to remain positive
- Starting a charitable organization
- Siblings bonding
- Kids acing virtual schooling when in-person schooling had been a challenge
- Being grateful for food, clothes, and shelter
- Embracing their natural hair colour
- Knitting lap blankets for seniors
- And getting to know themselves again
Many of the women also commented that writing these things down helped them see the year more positively.
One member of the group, Evelyn Costabile, was overwhelmed by the support of her local community. After deciding to sponsor two seniors through Simcoe Hall Settlement House’s Sponsor a Senior program, she put the word out on her local Facebook group to see if she could get more seniors sponsored. She couldn’t believe the response. She ended up with two truckloads of gifts and donated over 2000 dollars to the program, successfully supporting all the seniors with funds leftover.
Costabile said, “I actually had more people wanting to help than there were seniors, so we are now sponsoring a small family. I also had friends and neighbours send me money and some wanting to shop for the family. The people involved in shopping for the family have been so incredibly generous that I have more money than we need for the family. So now with that money, I am buying some items for seniors that are often too expensive and that the food bank rarely has (depends, polident, etc.)”
She went on to say, “The response from my neighbours was incredible. I can’t tell you how many times I cried when someone brought giant bags of gifts for their seniors. It was as though they were buying for their own nana and poppa. The stories and responses I heard were incredible. I honestly believe it was much better for all of us to give than to receive. I’m so proud of my neighbours my heart is literally bursting. If you want to help, The Simcoe Settlement House is still looking for food, toy, and e-transfer donations.”
It makes my heart happy to hear so many positive things when it feels like the world, at the moment, is a very stressful and scary place to be. There is a quote by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar that goes,
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”
As the last month of this challenging year comes to a close, I hope you will think about the good things that happened this year, no matter how small, and that it will give you something to smile about this holiday season.
Let’s keep the positivity going. What is one good thing that happened to you in 2020? Feel free to post in the comments.
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