by Berenice Boxler
What if 2020 wasn't a "lost" year?
What if this past year had been tremendously educational and valuable?
What if living through and experiencing emotions had led more clearly and intensively than ever to see what being human really means and that everything belongs to a human life: the beauty, the neutral and the difficult or painful.
What if it became clear that all the hard work and striving, all precautions and money can't prevent life from being difficult or even threatening, and that "more, higher, further, faster" is not the formula for a simple life.
What if there were so many new things to (re)discover and appreciate, things that seemed to be part of our routine and were taken for granted: hugging each other, visits to restaurants, cinema, and theatre, traveling, the casual meeting with other people, nature, and yes, the naturalness of breathing.
What if it became clear how impossible it is not to judge: about politics, about experts and their opinions, about measures, about elections, about the environment, about empty / full football stadiums or the vaccination order, and of course about the behaviour by "the others". And how much this judging affects your own mood and action.
What if it became apparent on a daily basis that acceptance - even of the unwanted - is the only basis for being able to decide with a clear mind: How do I deal with this? What is helpful, meaningful and important right now?
What if it became painfully clear, which was perhaps just a calendar saying so far: Life cannot be planned and controlled. Life is what it is. Plans and goals are wonderful and important, but they only work when they are constantly adapted to reality.
What if insights arose about the power of your own thoughts and the possibility of steering: Is what I'm thinking helpful? Is it time to decrease the stimuli for a while and not read every headline, not see and listen to everything?
What if the past few months had been a lesson that everything, really everything, is impermanent and changeable, regardless of how "normal" it seemed before. Open borders, travel, hugging, work and school rhythms, free access to restaurants and shops, routines, and clear division of work and life.
What if there was a great value to discover in all of this: the richness of a grateful heart. Gratitude for people and their service to others. Gratitude for emergency workers and police, hospital staff and cleaning services, school and educational institutions, postal and supermarket employees, trained and involuntary death companions, transport and logistics of goods, medicines and food, garbage collection and administrative staff, and for the countless people who just do their jobs, every day.
What if generosity could arise from this abundance of gratitude and could be returned by giving time, an open ear, goods, knowledge, interest or compassion.
What if it became clear what is really important to feel safe, seen and connected - and what we could give up, for a while, or even forever.
What if there could be an increasing confidence in the inherent nature of things, regardless of the external chaos and physical distancing: connection is what holds everything together and is always there when we open ourselves up to it. Nature, animals, people, interest, learning, embodiment, being and growing together, helping each other, just being there and touching each other. Connection transgresses the loss, because love and memories remain, even when a human or an animal are gone.
What if the past few months helped us to wake up to the "human adventure"?
What if 2020 had torn down many walls that over decades had been built by routines, thought patterns and world views?
What if there was a whole new world behind these crumbling walls, just waiting to be lived?
2021 will not be easier, whether with or without vaccination, with or without loss, with or without work. Because the truth is, life is and never has been easy. It is how it is. Being human means living life as it unfolds from moment to moment - and the more we awake to our lives, the more agency we have.
To a new year of countless moments.