I’ve been thinking of putting 2020 in a box and storing it in the attic. I know so many others feel the same way. With all the year's suffering, fear, angst and frustration I was going to say 'let's burn it' but I found myself asking: what if I need something from that box?
Well, what would be in that box that you would possibly need?
Hmm. Good question… Deep breathing. I did that a lot, through stress and angst, all year long.
Okay, deep breathing. take it out of the box now.
I guess when I think about it there were things in 2020 that I appreciated and want to keep: I focused on getting healthier, got into yoga, lost 30 pounds, relished deeper connections with people, tried to help where I could, prayed and meditated a lot, loved on my fur family, and wrote some pretty rich words that strung together as parts of stories in progress.
Sounds like maybe the question is, what's in the box to leave behind with 2020? What has haunted you the most these last months? Personal haunts.
Okay. I didn’t realize how hard I am on myself. I discovered, with so much me-time, I’m kind of a master at it. Can you relate to that?
Um, probably. Although hard to admit.
Spending so much alone, living alone, my critic/prosecutor, judge and jury took up permanent residence. I mean, maybe they’ve been semi-regular guests in the past where I would open up the guest room and have time to change the sheets between visits.
Somewhere along the line, they became permanent: inconsiderate, smelly, destructive roommates, with their disarray spilling out all over the place so I couldn’t maneuver around it until their badgering served to stop me in my tracks at times, questioning every move. Hours were wasted in front of my persecutors, all eager to find fault, flaw and failing.
That sounds bad, yes, but who let them in, in the first place?
Okay, whatever. I did. But, in my defense, I would say, "but it’s a pandemic, it’s so hard to focus, my brain is fogged with bad news, everyday work is intense, I’ll do it tomorrow." On and on.
Didn’t that feed right into their hands? To their case?
Oh, so you can relate. Yes, they juried up and doled out their sentence. The same one. Every time. The same sentence.
What was it?
Ah, man. That’s like a punch in the gut. A familiar punch.
A sentence of regret. It imprisons you like nothing else. Stops forward motion. Keeps you stuck. It’s got me thinking, all of the stuck-ness, stagnation, inertia I experienced for so much of 2020, all stemmed from that sentence handed down by my own inner judge. Regret.
What do you regret?
Little things, like not crossing off the to-do list, sticking to a writing habit, following up with someone, making a call, having a conversation, not completing a goal. Whatever I could find to beat myself up about.
It honestly doesn’t matter, does it? Then, yesterday, this quote by Ben Horowitz floated into my inbox: “Spend zero time on what you could have done and devote all your time on what you might do.”
So, regret vs presence. Regret vs acceptance. Regret vs ease.
Regret vs joy. It’s a pretty easy choice when you see it side by side.
Indeed. However, it's not like it was a new thing in 2020, regret.
True. Although not many, some have been around a while, aging with wrinkles and gray hair around the temples. They were just really loud this year. Time to let them all go.
The key, moving forward is to focus on what’s in the present. Set goals, yes of course. But the key is to keep moving forward and not beat ourselves up for what didn’t happen, yet. Yet. Good word. For what we can control and for what we still desire, it hasn’t happened yet. Or, maybe it won't happen. So, what's next? No more beating ourselves up. No regrets. Really, I think it's the only thing I feel the need to leave behind in 2020.
No regrets. And, the inhabitants in the guest room?
They’ve been evicted and moved into the 2020 box, in the attic.
And, if they come around knocking on the door again?
We can have a dialog, but only if it serves the moment.
Otherwise, no clean sheets for an extended stay?
Nope. I’m turning their room into a yoga studio.