December 31st, 2020. The fourth and final blog post for the year. No, I do not think that I will get famous with four blog posts in a year. Don’t worry, I didn’t plan on getting recognised in the year Corona anyway.
I have written thousands upon thousands of words this year, very few have made it into the public arena. Mostly because what I wrote was more for comprehension than exposure. At the beginning of 2020, I decided that I wanted to be a better version of myself. I wanted to become aware of how I can change so that the world I live in can also change. I wanted more joy, more memories, more feelings and fewer desires to live at the top of some imaginary food chain drawn by others. I wanted to be in love with the life I have been living, and I wanted my family to fall in love with living again. I had decided to find new ways to create memories. I was ready to engage in any and all moments worth experiencing.
I had no idea what this kind of request entailed, but I am glad to be on the other side of it. Even though I knew that my life was overflowing with blessings, I never realised how much I was missing because my focus was in all the wrong places. When I asked to receive more, I had no idea that what I was receiving was a multiplication of what I had already had.
During one of the many days of this year, I remembered a story my mom once told me about me when I was a little girl. She said that every time she prepared food; I would wait for her to finish so I could have all the crumbs on the counter. Legend has it that I would scoop all the crumbs and tiny leftovers up, and I would take said food outside for the little creatures that also needed to eat. I always thought this was a weird thing for a child to do, then again, I was a pretty odd child, so maybe not that strange after all.
This story was not a highlight story for me; in fact, it was just a silly thing I did, until the year 2020, this year, it all fell into place, and I could see why I am this way. As I sat here reflecting, it dawned on me that my mom was trying to tell me that I am a natural nurturer, a deep feeler, a liver of life, and a lover of all. It never occurred to me that when she told me that story, she was telling me that that little girl celebrated the simplest parts of being alive. She did not force life. She merely applied herself to the moment and simply lived in it entirely. With this revelation, a deep feeling of relief set in. It was all for a reason, I was not wrong for being the way I am, and nothing about this life had been a mistake.
Last December, I knew something was coming, but I had no idea it would be this; all these realities recently started to hit home. There were so many changes, some changes occurred quickly, and others took longer and were quite difficult to endure. Simultaneously, the next growth was invariably set into play, everything happening all at once, all these moving pieces, all parts of a much larger work. During all of this, I experienced an adjustment in perception, we all did. Actually, there was a reassessment of expectation on all our parts. An awakening of depth if I may, which can only be explained to those who understand what it is to experience the workings of change.
I look back at what I believe triggered this all. I distinctly remember this pinnacle moment last December, when I was standing in Oslo’s mountains with two of our closest friends. We were standing on the outer banks of a mountain slope, covered in snow and holding our sleighs; and laughter was bellowing out into the quietness that was once there. We laughed so loudly our bodies ached, it was like a giant exhale, followed by a massive inhale, and it felt amazing! That crazy moment shook me, it made me realise that even though I had been living my life, I had not been in love with my life for a long time. Not because I don’t have everything I had ever dreamed of (let’s be honest, I am truly blessed), but because I had forgotten how to deeply feel the life I had been living. It occurred to me that since we had moved from South Africa to the Netherlands, none of us had fallen in love with our new life at all. It became apparent that we were existing but not living. I realised that I had a lot of transforming to do, and in turn, the family that I care so deeply for would be experiencing a lot of changes.
To be honest, 2020 felt a lot like living in a snow-globe, and everyone else seemed to be on the outside. While the world continued with its new daily routine, we experienced a significant shift in our family. Good changes, but changes none the less. I kid you not, every time something changed outside, our globe shook, and our world adjusted in one way or another.
It’s hard you know, to come to terms with that which holds you back. I had to take the time to look at myself, and I had to be honest when answering the questions that were being asked. I had no idea how much I had never permitted myself to experience, and I never realised that I had taught my family the same. I found myself mourning countless losses and pains that I have endured and never allowed myself to process. All of this came to the surface and was washed away by tears shed while getting through each day. On the flip side, there were hundreds of times, I caught myself bursting into laughter. I laughed at the memories that rushed to reveal themselves as meaningful experiences. I developed this new appreciation for love and a new desire for life.
While adventuring through this revelation, I adjusted my approach. I decided to understand before I responded, and I applied thinking before reacting. I noticed changes rippling throughout our home. Everybody was gentler in how we dealt with each other, we had become more mindful of the other. Kindness and laughter were becoming our thing. Deep and meaningful conversations frequently happened; while dancing to random songs was suddenly an everyday practice in our home. We had new routines and exciting new rituals. There were the same things, but there were so many new ways in which we were living. Looking back, it feels good to know that this year was not just about hardship. It’s worth celebrating, knowing that there was all this awakening during this crazy time.
This year, I made a new habit; live in gratitude. I consciously give thanks for each blessing, past, present and future. I continuously recall and learn from the years gone by, take what is needed in the moment, and build a beautiful future with the ones I love. I have also allowed myself to feel my history, to recollect and rejoice in the path already travelled. I realised that my life’s journey may not have been the easiest, but everything happened on purpose. It occurred to me that history must be recognised, it must be seen for its worth, and it must be used as a lesson. The past is the foundation, it is the strengthening of our being for the future to come. It is there for us to reflect on. It’s there to help us gather an in-depth understanding of what should be left behind, and what will be taken going forward. That’s how growth works, I suppose.
Decades after hearing that story about a little girl feeding little creatures; I sit on my couch, attempting to finish this, the last blog of 2020. This may take another year to complete, bear with me, please. I look out into our tiny South Holland winter garden, and I can see lots of little birds visiting the bird feeder and drinking from the hanging bowls. There are pot plants producing food for bees, insects and other creatures that dwell in or visit our little piece of heaven. I blissfully take account of my forty years of age, and I realise, I am still that little girl pouring love into the world. I have spent my life caring, feeling, loving, rejoicing, dancing, fighting, crying, screaming, raging and mourning. I never knew how much this was my truth until now. Now that I see how blessed I am, I acknowledge that I am appointed to watch over more than just the little creatures, I am charged with caring for the family and friends that God blessed me with, and in return, they care for me too.
This year I had to understand the hardships and witness the substance in the goodness of my life. Amid all that recalling, I realised that I apply an immense amount of energy to this life, my life, our lives, the life we live and share. I have learned that all that energy has been spent wisely, contrary to my OCD mind, the life we live is full of goodness and laced with grace and joy. It makes me proud to know that we are actually thriving even though we are still figuring it all out.
I also had to accept that I have been hard on myself and our family because I was trying to rise to others’ standards. I realised I have been trying to be the perfect Suzie homemaker. Which is cool but, it’s not really who I am. I’m more of a combination of Suzie homemaker, a Powerpuff Girl, and a Strawberry Patch Doll. I live to love and be loved, and 2020 showed me that everything I was looking for, was already manifesting within our wonderful life.
I started 2020 with this blessing “2019 was a year of blessings, growth, understanding, forgiveness, change, adventure and grace. 2020 promises to be a year of great love, discovery, fulfilment, joy and upliftment! May your steps be steadfast and taken in faith! May your heart never cease to love those you encounter. May your dreams become your successes! Last but not least, May you celebrate each day for the gift it is.”
Looking back, I think 2020 was everything it promised to be. It may not have played out the way anyone was expecting it to, but it played out none the less. Looking ahead, I am filled with hope that the year 2021 will be the year to harvest all that was planted in 2020!
Photo Credit: https://www.buggedspace.com/
Theme Song: Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles