Monday Musings: 2021 and Bamboo
"The human capacity for burden is like bamboo -- far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance." - Jodi Picoult
For the last five years I've come up with a word or quote to challenge myself in the new year. Last year my was goal was to be more creative. After a tumultuous and unforgiving 2020, I've spent more time determining my focus for 2021 than I ever have before.
In my Monday Musings last week, I shared my hope and optimism for 2021 despite the uncertainty carrying over from last year. With this in mind, my challenge in the new year is to practice resiliency, and to willingly embrace that life as I know it is loaded with unpredictability. As Jodi Picoult so eloquently writes in My Sister’s Keeper, “the human capacity for burden is like bamboo — far more flexible than you'd every believe at first glance."
This last year beat me down in ways I didn't know were possible but I am still standing. It wasn't uncommon for me to experience, in one day, multiple personal and professional upheavals -- as though I was riding an emotional roller coaster that I desperately wanted off! This crisis mode of operation became a way of life and it's been exhausting. Like so many other professionals and parents, an email, call or text would send me into a tailspin. I'd frantically have to reschedule virtual work meetings and events, adjust my children's school and activities schedules and immediately address homeownership woes that resulted in repairs (and a renovation). It's been overwhelming.
"...my challenge in the new year is to practice resiliency, and to willingly embrace that life as I know it is loaded with unpredictability."
After hours of reflection, I've discovered that this new way of life -- living each day literally minute by minute -- was met with resistance. For several months, I didn't want to accept what was before me. Perhaps it was self-pity, arrogance or naiveté? I don't know. My attitude was to blame for my exhaustion. My strong-will to maintain a schedule and normalcy -- life from 2019 and prior -- fought hard against the mighty tides of 2020. By November, I put down my sword so to speak. I didn't surrender, but I didn't try to duke it out. As my mom would say, I started to "roll with the punches." This is not easy to do for someone like me -- Enneagram Type1.
As I head into the new year, I'm giving myself permission to accept the pressures and uncertainty of 2021 with patience, grace and humor. I must embrace that life is messy right now but it won't last forever. Everyday I need to reaffirm that I am strong enough to accept and overcome whatever is out of my control.
To remind myself of this new outlook, I purchased a small, special plant — lucky bamboo — because I am like bamboo. I'll bend but I'll never break. And I could use a little luck in the new year, too.