There is a meme, or set of memes about 2020. It has become a lost year that we can hardly wait to have done with, and that no one wants to repeat. This is a very odd sentiment coming from ruggedly independent Americans. We don’t believe in luck except for the kind we make ourselves. And we don’t believe in fate or destiny except for that which we control. So it is rather strange to hear us writing off a whole year as if there was nothing we could do about it.
Our can-do spirit doesn’t make or accept excuses. Even if all the gods and demons were against us, that would just sweeten our eventual, inevitable victory. But strangely, no one is planning for victory. The coronavirus took all the fight out of us. The political dialog has never been more poisonous. Racial tensions like those we read about in school are now a part of the daily news.
Wave after wave of deadly storm devastated our coasts. As the fires of unrest burned throughout the country, literally apocalyptic fires burned through the West Coast. After a particular bad week, a television commentator expressed what we all felt when he said, “What a year this week has been.”
In sports, it sometimes happens that a team loses so badly, the coach does not save the game and make the team watch it. There is no teaching moment to be had. It just has to be tossed. The occasion is used to reset and return to the fundamentals. 2020 is that for America. Here are a few things we need to reset and rebuild:
A Renewed Sense of Pride
Business suits have been replaced by sweat pants and pajamas. Everyday is a bad hair day. And no one bothers to wash the car anymore. What’s the point? They are not going anywhere anyway.
We don’t have to wait for 2021 before we redevelop a sense of pride and personal dignity. It is easy to turn things around. You can start by washing the car and remembering what it was like to take pride in your vehicle. Next, find a Chicago collision repair shop, or the best body shop in your neck of the woods. Get those dings and dents and cracks taken care of. Think of them as physical manifestations of 2020 . Put them behind you and don’t look back. Oh, and buy some clothes. The year of the sweatpants is over.
A Renewed Sense of Focus
We have become far too good at coming up with new and interesting distractions. We use TV and video games and yoga and cooking and everything else as a way of passing the time until something better comes along. While that is better than giving up entirely, it is not going to get anything useful done.
It is as if we have forgotten what it is like to do something useful. What we lack is focus. Everything is a hobby and nothing is a vocation. We have been handed the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill that is more profitable than what we were doing before. With that time, we are watching the latest Netflix ode to mediocrity. Don’t wait for 2021. We need to renew our ability to focus now, while we have the chance to really do something with it.
A Renewed Sense of Purpose
This is a tough one because far too many people have never given any thought to their purpose in life. They have just existed from one day to the next without considering what part they play in the bigger tapestry. Organizations with a sense of purpose tend to do great things that positively impact others. It is the same with individuals.
Your purpose does not have to be spiritual to be meaningful. It also doesn’t have to be grand. You don’t have to change the whole world to be a positive change in your small part of the world. It is often in times of hardship that people discover what is truly important. Use 2020 to help you discover your sense of purpose.
Sometimes, it takes years like 2020 to force us to hit the reset button. Don’t let this be a lost year of missed opportunities. Renew your sense of pride, your focus, and your sense of purpose.