While no one expected 2020 to be the year it was, can we reflect on any possible good that came out of this? Maybe you had some extra time with your family during 2020. Possibly you learned that you are not only an amazing employee for your company, but you learned that working from home and not having to commute, you were even more productive. Many people I have spoken to this year began to appreciate more of what their spouse did who was the stay-at-home parent. I am hearing from young adults that while financially this year was difficult, they are learning to be thriftier with their income to make ends meet. Being new at this challenge, their parents were able to teach them much about being out in the adult world. I have seen families with health challenges rise to the occasion and be there for each other in ways like never before. It has also been reported that COVID actually saved a few marriages, because couples had to figure things out; there was no place to go and spending more time together helped them to realize that they were stronger than they thought.
Of course, there is the tragic side of 2020 as well. Many people lost their lives this year. Many of you know of family or friends who are no longer with us because of this pandemic. Many of the elderly who live in assisted living facilities had to settle for window visits from family instead of hugs and kisses. Many people felt isolated who live alone. And the loss of many businesses this year due to quarantine.
We saw much strength this year, especially with the countless hours put in by our front-line health care workers to aid the sick. Their dedication is appreciated way beyond what I can say in words. What our teachers have had to adjust to so they could be effectively teaching all those little minds. And many other heroic acts of kindness by so many.
We are a strong people. We are resilient. We will enjoy life again, maybe not as we used to, but to some degree we will find a new comfort zone. We have to believe in each other. We have to believe in our own strengths and the strengths of others. I do believe that all of us can walk away from this year with a lesson of some kind. My lesson learned might be very different from yours, but I truly believe we can learn something valuable here if we take the time to reflect.
Do we know what 2021 brings? Absolutely not. Can we be an example to young people today that in spite of not knowing, we can think positively and know that whatever comes our way, we will work through it? We will ask for help if we need it and we will celebrate even the smallest successes.
I have talked to women who have given birth this year and in spite of COVID, have celebrated that new family member. I have talked to people who were married and who have graduated college this year. Were those events what they dreamed of? Perhaps not, but did that stop them from achieving those goals? Heck no. They did what they needed to do in order to still celebrate those milestones as safely as they could.
As I close for the year, know that I will be here for those who need it, whether virtually or in person when it is safe. Know that I believe in all of you. Know that there is hope that 2021 will be a better year for all of us. You’ve got this!!!!
Practice Update: While I had opened my office for in-person counseling one day a week, that situation will change effective at the end of this week. After Wednesday, December 2nd, my practice will return to 100% online until at least after the Holidays. I will revisit this situation again in the new year.
Thank you for your trust in me. Be safe and be well.
Maryellen Dabal, MA, LMFT
305 Miron Drive
Southlake, TX 76092