2020: Harnessing the Power of Reflection

Like most people, I believed 2020 would, in some way, be my year or at least be the start of something great that I would ride into the new decade. The latter half of 2019 was arguably one of the best years of my life. I was experiencing new things, exploring new areas, and enjoying as much as I could before I was to hit the ground running on my professional career; however, the plans I had dreamt of, hoped for, never really came to fruition due to COVID-19.

So let’s frame this blog by separating what is considered the Good with the Bad… Starting with The Bad-ish:

“When will this pandemic end?” is a question we’ve heard with increasing frequency this year. In the final weeks of 2020, it seems the world is closer to getting an answer, as vaccines begin to slowly roll out across the world, offering hope for an end to a pandemic that has devastated lives and livelihoods around the world.

The COVID-19 outbreak is one of many events that have made 2020 a year like no other. From the ensuing public health crisis—and its toll on diverse communities, mental health, and small businesses, to name just a few—to the increasing urgency of climate change, to a watershed movement in racial and social justice, then of course, the United Stated Presidential election, this is the year has brought more change than many could have imagined.

Besides the clear implications of COVID-19 shattering the world as we know it, 2020 has had other occurrences that have caused some reflection. At the beginning of the year in February, we lost Kobe Bryant. It’s tough to relay how this impacted me profoundly, but at the core, he was an idol to many and left this world as a hero — so losing him felt like we lost a family member.

I learned that while legends can die, their memory is never truly forgotten, I mourned his death like I did with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alex Trebek, Regis Philbin, Chadwick Boseman, Grant Imahara, David Dinkins, John Lewis, and so many others, but never felt more connected.

Then came what happened to George Floyd and so many others. I need not discuss what happened, but his death sparked a new civil rights movement. All I wanted to do was my part as a philanthropist and humanitarian by raising awareness, fundraising for social justice organizations, but what this ultimately made me feel was torn, hurt – that I couldn’t do more than just that. Luckily, I had some friends in the Black Lives Matter movement who told me “it’s ok” and “this is honestly, more than we could have ever asked for.”

Unfortunately, my closest friends and family is not the only one to lose a loved one because of the pandemic and our best defenses against it has become politicized and debated rather than institutionalized. While I still believe lack of proper leadership has lead us down this path. It brings me great sadness to see the nation I was born into struggle with this as I thought we were the progressive state of this union.

2020 has been a test for myself, my friends, and especially this nation, but I know this will only make us stronger. We are a resilient people, and it’s on us to rebuild and remake a better America where we learn from the problems of 2020 so that we never repeat them

I know it can be hard to feel optimistic when there are still so many challenges ahead, but in the midst of the tragedies there was courage, there was grace, there was sacrifice, there was hope—there were people faced with the very worst rising up to be their very best. Few will recall the year just ending with anything close to fondness.

Now, I admit – I have faltered from writing as often as I used to, but that doesn’t mean the musings of what this ABPD has to offer has vanished. This year, though it may seem like not much has been accomplished, has been a year where I can confidently say, was a year of reflection.  

The Good:

Keep the future in mind while recognizing the past.

When reflecting even on the worst of situations, you must find something to learn from it to evolve. I would be lying if I told you the good came close to outweighing the bad, but you have to appreciate what does happen to be happy.

I started my 2020 relatively well.  I somehow managed to work full-time, volunteer with a nonprofit organization on a consistent basis, attain my PhD in communications and found myself with plenty of firsts.  

I was honored by 425’s Business Magazines 30 under 30 award, rekindled my passion for the arts (thought I still wouldn’t pursue it full-time), became a mentor, a speaker, ambassador, a counselor to many, but most importantly, this was a year I discovered self-love and appreciation of true togetherness.

This was a year where although most events, musings and conversations were virtually shared, I was able to continue my aspiration to inspire others. This was only possible because I had the time to reconnect with those moments in life that influenced my personal goals to which I think led to positive decisions. Taking the time to reflect on your day, your week, your “anytime” has the power to help you reconnect to the inspirations you’ve had and need.

Empower the direction of the future by thinking about the inspiring moments and thoughts that will keep you moving forward in life.

This was probably the most important – we’re all human, and everyone makes mistakes. Taking the time to reflect can help you take those mistakes and failures, process what went wrong, and prevent them in the future. The past makes us who we are but it can also help us remember who we want to be. 

This year of the pandemic, I’m especially thankful for my amazing support system. 2020 has definitely been a tough one, but having my friends who are the closest people that are family to me, by my side to weather the storm together has been quite incredible.

As 2020 comes to a close, I can transparently say, 2020 tested us beyond measure and well, I would like to think, we did alright. Yes, there were disparaging moments, but in these times of darkness, there is always a glimmer of light to hopefully, lead you to something brighter. The power of togetherness that I’ve felt through this past year has been a common theme for me, and I’m excited (and hopeful) to see what 2021 brings!

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