In January, many of my coaching conversations began with this question: 2020 is the year of 20/20 perfect vision. What will you focus on? Just a few short months later I believe 20/20 does not mean perfect vision at all; it means seeing what IS, perfectly. We are all viewing things through a new lens presently – perhaps for the very first time ever. Consider some examples.
For the last several years, there has been a gnawing dissatisfaction at how much time school sports or other external activities have infringed on family life. There are so many competing time consumers such as recitals, confirmation classes, boy or girl scouts, clubs, etc. This is not a complaint, these are all things that we value and desire to experience. Yet, the scales have been tipping in unbalanced ways; the family nucleus eroding with the connections at home often taking a backseat to these other pressing commitments. Isn’t it interesting that within the last few months, our focus has shifted so completely to primarily staying in our homes with our families? It’s true, we didn’t choose a pandemic; yet look at one of the positive byproducts the pandemic has created. We are now spending much of our time with our immediate family and housemates, eating together, playing games, taking walks, and spending time with our pets.
Recently, there’s been a lot of conversation about teachers too. I think we’ve gained some newfound understanding and awareness during this stay-at-home period, about how difficult teaching really is. One of my clients confessed to being so tired of her child not choosing a topic on a historical figure (as was the assignment), that she allowed her daughter to choose historical hair styles instead. “Will it be good enough?” she asked anxiously, staring at me through a Zoom call. I offered my assurance that it would be fine, and found myself googling some of those hairstyles later, just out of curiosity. (It is a SUPER entertaining exercise in case you’re interested.) Again, I’m not pretending this has not been one of the darkest and hardest periods of history, but there have been some beautiful moments of growth and awareness within. (I’ve cried watching the nightly news stories showing teachers as they drive by their student’s driveways just to say how much they miss and love them.) Wouldn’t it be great if we continued with this awareness into the next school year?
Another hot button (no pun intended) has been climate change. This topic has been researched, pondered and argued about – unfortunately becoming more of a political issue that nobody really knows what to DO about. Yet, the BBC recently reported that Coronovirus-19 has had the most dramatic impact on emissions, bringing our levels down below 2019 numbers, in just a few months. I also love the recent urban myth story about dolphins playing in the Venice canals. While this is actually not true, I love that it came from people’s optimism and hope that the globe is indeed resting and improving as we remain quietly at home. If you would have told me a year ago that we would be swept by a global pandemic that helped our carbon footprint – I would have given you a little wink and nudge, and perhaps even told you I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
2020 has also given us new vision and awareness as it relates to race. While the world has suffered racial discrimination and inequality for centuries, this year’s recent violence and brutality has brought openness and awareness to learn, grow, and change as an entire people. For centuries, skin color alone has provided or disallowed opportunities for home purchases, jobs, security and safety. While I am sad, confused and disheartened with this knowledge, I also feel good about conversations and actions that are occurring today. People are open; they are learning, they are leaning in to expose system flaws that have perpetuated racial inequality and injustice. I wish I knew more, I wish I could do more, I wish it never has happened.
So while 2020 has shown us perfectly what is, it doesn’t come without some pain and heartache. Yet like any other times of growth, I feel we have been given a tremendous opportunity in this year 2020, and I am filled with hope.