In a year when so much of our misery was a shared experience, it would be much easier to think about all we have lost this year when approaching an end of the year letter. Personally, I think we have suffered enough. I have suffered enough. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of this year, I want to focus on five unexpected gifts this year gave me. After reading my list, I want to challenge you to do the same.
Living in Seattle, WA has provided a powerful lesson. Every storm cloud has a silver lining. You cannot live in a place this beautiful and green if you are not willing to withstand the rain. With that said, this is my list.
I think living separate lives outside of the house is vitally important for the health of any relationship. Our experiences at work, with personal friends, and time spent with individual hobbies make us more interesting. It also has the power to reinvigorate our relationship. Meaningful work, great friends, and passion-filled hobbies invite us to share ourselves more deeply and broadly with the person we love. In a year where Brandon and I were asked to spend a lot of time together, we have come to realize how important separate lives are to the time we share together.
It was my intention to spend the majority of my year communing with nature by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Being forced to walk away from my dream was devastating, but it was also a gift. For me, very little in this world compares to the healing power of nature. In the wake of this year, I am planning a year in which nature will have every opportunity to heal that which has caused the greatest harm. While I do not necessarily need a six-month odyssey, 2020 has revealed an even deeper love for the outdoors and the trails of Washington better get ready for me.
I am over Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, and whatever tool we have used to build community this year. While I count these tools as a blessing, they are a poor substitute when it comes to the thrill of a concert, movie, baseball game, community meeting, or city-wide event with people who comprise a community. When this is all but a memory, I cannot wait to return to all those events we took for granted for so long.
I have been unemployed since March. This fact has deeply impacted my mental health, but it has also torn open an unexpected gift. Now, I know my worth. I absolutely refuse to settle for a job that does not match my career goals, devalues employees by paying them little, and a mission that does not align with my passions. I am worth more than this. I deserve work that challenges and inspires. I deserve a paycheck that provides security. I deserve an opportunity to make a real difference. Without the challenges of 2020, I have no clue how I would have discovered these truths.
Finally, I have missed the freedom to travel this year. I have missed long road trips. I have missed dreaming and saving for big adventures. I miss the sense of discovery and the ability to learn from someplace new. For far too long, I have taken the gift of travel for granted. In a year where we were forced to hunker down, I cannot wait to break free and discover the joy of travel once again.
Be good to each other,