What a long, strange year it’s been since the last LITSD! Not just in my world, but in the world as a whole! (If you are new to LITSD, find out more about it here: http://thecherylproject.com/life-is-too-short-day-a-history )
Usually this email – and this year including the blog post- is about what I’ve learned over the past year and some fun rules and funnies. (It tends to be a little long.) Turns out, I have learned/been reminded of some very powerful and meaningful things this past year.
I’ve learned a lot about my family and what that means to me, and how much I will do to protect that.
I’ve been reminded I couldn’t have picked a better life partner, who is always my biggest cheerleader (sometimes in weird and annoying ways! 🙂 ).
I’ve been reminded again and again that I am capable of more, in so many ways and on so many levels.
Our family has gone through a lot of changes this past year, including our youngest going to a behavioral wilderness camp last fall and our oldest heading off to her freshman year of college. We learned a whole new effective therapeutic language and approach when the youngest came back home from camp (after years of many different approaches from many different therapists) and spent a lot of time individually and as a family working to keep things on a better track for everyone (including an often unhappy about it but cooperative older sister!).
Hubster and I had the most time alone we’ve ever had during that period, and thankfully that reinforced how much we actually DO enjoy each other’s company and what a good team we make. (Not that we didn’t kind of suspect that after ten years together, but it’s always nice to be reminded 😉 ).
I had another – hopefully, the last – surgery early this year to repair more RA damage. I was feeling pretty optimistic about getting back on with life in much more active ways once I was healed!
Then Covid-19 happened. And then we were in the strangeness of a whole new world together. For me, it was like everyone in my family finally understood the weird time warp I always feel I am in after surgery. No one knows what day it is, and nothing new really happens and no one goes anywhere. And they understood more fully why I am a careful germaphobe with a compromised immune system in daily life.
Then, recently, the Black Lives Matter explosion happened. We began to have the hard but necessary and long past due conversations we all needed to have. It’s the beginning of a wave of change that feels very different this time, at least to me.
I feel that my lessons of this year really belong to all of us, as a country and a planet and as the most human of beings. I tend to try to focus on the positive, though I see all the negative. We’ve been reminded of the violence and ignorance we as humans are capable of, no doubt about that. My hope – one of many- is that we are buoyed and carried by the amazing amount of love and goodness and change we are all capable of, which can reach so much farther and deeper than hate.
And we have been reminded we are capable of great love and kindness towards each other, over and over again. Look at how everyone pulled together to keep the most vulnerable among us safe with the COVID-19 pandemic. ( I am among the vulnerable population, and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart!). Look at how we all shared what we had with those who didn’t have. Look at the essential workers keeping us safe and healthy and fed, at their own health risk, every single day. Look at the police and government officials walking with the BLM protesters peacefully, kneeling with them to show respect and support to them. Look at the black people protecting police officers. Look at people of all races and colors forming human chains to protect community businesses from looters. Look what we did to protect each other- our biggest family.
We are – I believe- also capable of finally acknowledging and opening our eyes to our society being built on fundamental inequality, after being appallingly and willingly blind to it for so long ( I speak as a white woman, from my point of view). We are more than capable of standing up to protect our fellow black humans who need us to stand with them and for them.
We are capable of taking accountability and demanding changes in our country and ourselves that is long past due.
We are capable of so much more.
And while there is always a small fraction of fear-mongering and violence in protests, there are so many more instances of people opening their hearts and minds and saying, “We want to be part of the solution. We are finally ready to listen and to HEAR. We’re sorry it took us so damn long.” Whether it be police officers -most of whom I believe are good and want to be better – or government officials, or people like you and me.
Despite the heaviness of this year, I find myself full of hope. And yes, you can be an eternal optimist and a realist at the same time. Trust me, I do it every day 🙂 .
My dearest hope is that we have ALL been able to grow and change in many ways this past year – hell, just in the first six months of 2020 alone! – in ways we always knew we were capable of. Maybe even in some ways that we didn’t think we were capable of, if we are being totally honest.
I hope we all believe how powerful our voices and our votes are. I hope we are all tired of what “normal” was before 2020 – in so many ways – and will continue to try to be part of the change the world needs in whatever ways we can be.
I hope we are all so much more aware of the ways we’ve failed to show our kids what standing up for others truly means and that we all keep having hard and truthful and meaningful conversations with the goal of making things better.
I hope that our leading by example for change – late as it may be – becomes an example our kids are proud of and part of.
I hope we are all realizing life is too short for anyone to have to fear for their lives from the very people tagged with protecting them or the societal ignorance surrounding them.
I hope we all see that so very many police officers are good and open to being part of the solution. I know some personally, and so do many of you.
I hope all of us are trying to come to the table with open minds and hearts, and that this is the beginning of what will be a (probably long and bumpy) road to a better world for all of us.
I know we can’t change the world overnight. I also know that we CAN all make changes every day by offering kindness in random or deliberate acts in our own corner of the world. Maybe it sounds trite, but just as a muscle gets stronger with use, kindness can become a habit we are all capable of strengthening with daily use.
And while this is a little heavier Life is Too Short Day letter than most, we still can focus on gratitude for our own blessings today, and follow the rules that are set, as usual, by yours truly. 🙂
So without further ado, I present the rules for Life is Too Short Day 2020:
- Margaritas are mandatory. (As always!) Because there is a lot in life to celebrate, and even if they are only mental margaritas, raise a glass. I’m sure you have a list of things to drink to today!
- Eat Dessert First. Say it with me now- because if you die before dinner, you die happy! The Hubster and I started with Pop-Tarts for breakfast this year, because I am celebrating this day from start to finish!
- Perform a Random Act of Kindness. I know I talk about this a lot on my FB page and share a lot of ideas, because it does make a difference, and it does have a butterfly effect. The world needs it right now, and so do you.
- Do one thing today to make yourself better. Read something that opens your mind. Do something that makes your heart happy. Learn a new skill. Try a new anything. Because we all can be better.
- Tell everyone you love that you love them. (I know, this rule is also here every year, and for good reason!) LOVE OUT LOUD! Go to The Cheryl Project website (http://www.thecherylproject.com) and use one of my letter templates or questionnaires if you need help finding the words. Reach out and get to know more about the people you love better. The most important thing we have is each other and we all want to feel we are seen and loved and appreciated. Make it your #3 or #4 on today’s list and cover a bunch of bases at once!
There’s no wrong way to celebrate this day other than to ignore it and treat it as any other Monday, but if you have heard nothing else from me over the years, hear me now (again!). There is no better day to celebrate life than today. There is no better time to be grateful than now.
As always, I love you guys and love how you look forward to this every year almost as much as I do. Enjoy your drinks and dessert and love today!