When this year started, the collective perspective was that 2020 would be the year of vision. We entered this new decade with a renewed sense of hope, excitement and confidence.
However, the last seven months have felt more like a smoky haze of sadness and frustration— for a variety of reasons which tend to change day by day— than anything resembling clarity and growth. Our visions seem to be clouded by the onslaught of national news stories all highlighting destruction and universal angst and, to top it off, we have been unavoidably stuck with ourselves, and with our pain- most of which is not new pain, just old pain we used to be able to escape from using a variety of distractions that were, effectively, destroyed over the last few months.
You might ask why I am reminding you of things you already know and probably would prefer not to think about, but I have a thought: 2020 has given us more clarity than we could have ever prepared for.
Let’s consider the reality of 2020 so far, shall we?
Before the year began we spent a lot of time and money distracting ourselves from the realities of our own existences. We tolerated a lot of pain— we even found comfort in its consistency. We spent hours commuting to jobs we didn’t love; we spent very little time with people we do love; and when we did find time for fun it often required us to spend money we didn’t have.
Beyond that, we spent whatever “free time” we had left, vegetating on our couches and dreaming up ideas to get us out of the routine that felt like a slow creep towards death.
2020 wasn’t really shaping up to be much different; we lost Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, we lost the impeachment, Mercury was in retrograde (whatever that means) and corona virus began its invasion. Boom: quarantine.
The thing about the quarantine is when it forced us inside— it really forced us inside in every way possible. We were living incredibly external lives focused on money and business, and keeping up with the Jones.’ After we went into quarantine, and the Netflix binges lost their appeal, we accidentally— maybe even reluctantly— started the process of self-reflection. Some of us started watching documentaries instead of Living Single runs; we began opening books; we started practicing meditation, praying and even working out. Our step counters didn’t recognize us anymore!
Moreover, as we shed tears waiting to be released and forgave ourselves for our past mistakes, we began to empower ourselves with a new sense of appreciation for our lives. Our focus became the families we didn’t have time for before and the dreams that seemed unattainable. Not to mention we were emotionally and physically available to face the issues surrounding race in our country.
We started questioning everything we thought we knew before. Thoughts crept into our minds such as: Can I make a difference? Why am I the way that I am? Do I enjoy the things I thought I enjoyed or did I use those things to distract me from my pain? Is that person really my friend? Am I sure about my marriage? How can I stay at this job? What is my passion Where am I in life— where am I going? Who am I really? Am I happy?
The answers to these questions often landed uncomfortably on our egos, which really doesn’t appreciate change. However, we’ve started to understand the truth about who we are and what matters to us.
So, so far 2020 kept its promise, didn’t it? Our vision is, in fact, expanding in many directions and as the world begins to open back up, we have to prepare for the challenge of cherishing this new vision while old distractions tempt us back to old comforts.
If we want the new vision we’ve been given to manifest in our lives, we will have to experience a ritual sacrifice of our old selves and old ways with the faith that the reward will be an elevated, happier life. The problem with clarity is it starts with painful reflection and ends in a battle of determination. Now that you know so much about yourself, you have to be determined to stand by your new beliefs. Now that you know, there is no going back to not knowing. 2020 is giving us vision in its own, slightly annoying way. The question is and always has been: what do we plan to do with it?