Commentary – Why 2020 Was The Worst Year and How To Give Yourself Space to Be Creative.

Sometime around the midpoint of the summer my 11 year-old Daughter came downstairs and said “I decided to make Today a productive day“. 

With the pandemic in full swing and school in summer recess, her activities were limited.

I asked her a few questions and learned that for the previous few days all she had been doing was playing video games.  She shared that she had been entirely too caught up in her game to do anything else and pledged to make a change.

I felt very proud that she could be so self-aware.  I was happy to see her recognize that spending all of her time playing video games was not productive.

In the days that followed, I watched her; bake brownies, read books, and go out for bike rides.  She still played video games, but for a few hours each day she found other ways to occupy her time.

2020 Was The Worst Year

In a year that has rendered so many of us idle, it is certainly excusable for anyone to fall into a rut.

The pandemic has taken so much. 

Besides claiming countless lives, it has decimated our economies and left many with no way to earn a living.

We have all been impacted in one way or another.

Eternally Grateful

Personally, I remain grateful that I’ve not suffered from any of the most significant impacts of COVID-19. 

I’ve not lost any close friends or family.  I did not lose my job nor has my income been impacted. With both my kids on remote learning and my wife also able to continue working from home, rather than having less time with family, I feel like I have had more.

For all of this I am eternally grateful.

I hope many of you can say the same.

Motivation Waning

Despite these blessings, you may know, that this year, my drive for continuing this blog waned.  I shared how my workload was at an all-time high, but my motivation was at an all-time low.

Since that time, I would not say that things have changed very much. 

We are still in a pandemic.  My work load remains high.  Motivation for writing this blog remains low. 

I’ve thought a lot about why that might be. 

Need for Change

In the same way that my Daughter recognized that after doing the same thing for several days, she needed a change, I think all I need is a change too.

When I look back on what this year has been like, the vast majority of my time has been focused on work. 

Early calls, late calls, and back to back calls throughout the day, every day.  This has been my norm.  These demands on my time have been a blessing, but they have also been a curse.

At the end of a day like that, sitting down for another hour to write, simply felt unpleasant.

Give Yourself Space

There is a YouTube channel I occasionally watch hosted by a young man named Matt Estlea.  Matt publishes videos about woodworking.

In a recent video, Matt shared the circumstances that caused him to spend two weeks living in his workshop during the UK Lockdown.

Near the end of this video (time marker 15:05) , Matt sits in front of the camera and addresses the audience directly.  He begins by thanking everyone for their patience over the past few months.  Matt goes on to acknowledge how inconsistent he has been in publishing content.

Matt then comments on how he has learned to be patient with himself and rather than beating himself up for not being consistent, he has learned to give himself space to post when his creativity and motivation is high.

Matt is a much younger man than I, but there is great wisdom in that statement.

I remain resolute in my pledge not to give up on this blog.  There is still much for me to write about and much for me to share.  I might not be as consistent and I might find it difficult to post as frequently as I have in the past, but when I do post, it will be because I expect it to bring you value.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As I write this (this week), the UK has begun administering the COVID vaccine, and in the US, emergency approval for the vaccine has been granted.

This is great news and a sign that 2021 might not be as bad as 2020.

I don’t expect everything to go back exactly as it was before COVID-19, but I’m hopeful we will emerge stronger and at the very least, we won’t be stuck in quarantine for the whole year.  This is a change we all need.

So with Matt’s good advice in mind and a positive outlook for 2021, I hope you all take the time to give yourselves the space you need to be creative as we push forward into the New Year.

Thank you for sticking with me through a most troubling year. I hope you have as much to be grateful for as I do and if you don’t, I hope your outlook for 2021 is far better.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. 

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