I was with friends in late February, celebrating someone’s birthday on a seemingly ordinary night out. While we were cautiously aware of the mysterious flu originating overseas, we had no idea that by Wednesday, March 11th, a full-blown pandemic would take over life as we know it, changing the world overnight.
I was glued to the news, (naively) hoping to hear of an end date. I kept myself busy with “quarantine workouts” and video calls. I continued my meetings and tried to maintain some semblance of “normal.” But as the days went on, the news just got progressively worse. What I never imagined could happen did. We experienced the collective fear of the unknown.
Buying Purell or toilet paper became a victory. Walks in the park or on the roof kept me sane. My palette changed as I learned to embrace fully home-cooked meals. Conversations with loved ones were heated, empathetic, intelligent, and passionate. There was much to discuss between Covid, politics, and civil unrest.
Zoom and Hangouts became the new way to party, and things I took for granted became much more appreciated. Seeing healthcare workers risk their lives daily brought new meaning to the word “hero”. They became a beacon of hope for us all.
There is so much that I’m grateful for in 2020. Knowing our parents are safe, spending quality time with my husband and daughter, appreciating my health, and being able to slow down. Through all of the loss and heartbreak that 2020 brought, it also brought clarity and purpose. It forced me to confront patterns in my life that were unhealthy and gave me space to redefine and reset. I found different ways to work, exercise, see friends, celebrate good times, and be happy. I even felt inspired enough to finally walk away from my corporate career to start AALLYN. It was a hard reset, and for that, I am grateful.
As we enter 2021, the words that I hold in my mind are "hope," "patience," and "positivity." The image here was taken at a polar bear plunge that my husband and our friends participated in on January 1, 2020. We were ringing in the new year, full of possibility and excitement. What this photo symbolizes to me now is how, no matter what's ahead, we push forward. And so, this photo embodies the energy that I wish to carry on into 2021. Though the road ahead is uncertain, I have hope and believe the world will continue to come together and find new ways to move forward. Cheers to the new year, and may everyone be healthy, happy, and filled with love.