Did I Find Contentment and Peace in 2020?

I’m glad we don’t know what the future holds. If we did, most of us would have approached the year 2020 with uncommon dread. I entered the year with what I thought was reasonable positivity. My last blog post in 2019 was one in which I stated a goal of finding contentment and peace in 2020. Here’s the link to that post: Contentment and Peace in 2020.

After writing that post for December 30, 2019, I typed the title for today’s post in my editorial calendar to remind myself to evaluate the progress I made in 2020 in finding contentment and peace.

Could it be I picked the wrong year to seek contentment and peace?

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema on unsplash.com

Did I Find Contentment in 2020?

Am I content? That’s a loaded question. Am I content with my life? If so, does that mean I’ve settled for whatever my life looks like? That’s not how I choose to look at it. Writing to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul wrote (Phil. 4:12-13), he encouraged the Christians there to rejoice in the Lord no matter their circumstances.

It has been a stressful year in many respects – the broken leg in January, the pulmonary embolism in February, the death of a high school classmate and friend in Belgium that same day, 13 weeks of not being able to put any weight on my right leg followed by months of rehabilitation and recovery, the death of a dear lifelong friend in July, my dog’s diabetes diagnosis in August, a planned beach trip in September had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, the tendon problem in my wrist (ongoing), my fibromyalgia flared big time in October when summer transitioned into fall, a dear cousin’s cancer diagnosis in November, a US presidential election in November that seems to never end, and tooth sensitivity that led to a root canal in November.

Oh, and there was a pandemic. There was and is the Covid-19 pandemic. When history books are written, 2020 will stand out as a troubling year in the entire world.

I have a good life, though. In 2020, I never wondered where my next meal was coming from. I had a roof over my head every day. I had access to the medical attention I needed. I have friends. I have the world’s best sister and wonderful family a couple of hundred miles away. How could I be anything but content?

Looking back over my December 30, 2019, blog post, did I get my To-Be-Read List under control? No. In fact, that list on my Goodreads.com account has grown from 302 to 318.

Did I cut back on my weekly blog? No. I considered decreasing the number of blog posts, but I couldn’t get excited about doing that. For now, it’s still every Monday.

Did I “get my novel on the road to publication” in 2020? No. I’m afraid it has been neglected in 2020 as I pursued other writing opportunities. Neglected, but not forgotten.

Did I make time for all my hobbies? No. I made a little time to work on genealogy but my other hobbies fell by the wayside. I thought on December 30, 2019, that making time for my hobbies would lead to peace and contentment in 2020.

Motivation was harder to come by in 2020 than I anticipated.

Did I Find Peace in 2020?

For purposes of this goal and its evaluation I’m referring to inner peace.

I broke my leg, but it has almost completely healed. Thanks to modern medicine and an on-the-ball hospital emergency room doctor, my pulmonary embolism dissolved. Even though I could only get around with the use of a walker for 13 weeks, I did have access to a walker and my left leg was good and strong. I’m retired, so I could stay at home. I share a home with my sister, and she and our dog took great care of me.

I will forever miss the two friends I lost, but I know they’re both in a better place and I’ll see them again.

Our dog has access to some of the best animal veterinary care on the planet. He is doing splendidly again!

I took advantage of my fibromyalgia flare in October to get back into one of my favorite hobbies – genealogy.

On Christmas Eve, my cousin received the best report possible following her cancer surgery. She is a very strong and determined person. She will beat cancer.

Another cousin’s first baby was due last week in California but, apparently, it’s heard about this year and doesn’t want to have anything to do with 2020. I can’t blame it. I am excited beyond words over this much-anticipated event!

The last four years have been a contentious time in our country. November 3 finally came and it was Election Day! There were several nail-biter days. Really. I chewed off three fingernails. We are more polarized politically than any other time in my life. It has been an ugly time that I hope never to experience again. The election continues to be a source of ugliness from the man who lost the presidential election. How embarrassing for the US! Better days and years lie ahead of us, though, starting on January 20, 2021 – Inauguration Day in Washington, DC.

December came with the Covid-19 pandemic still growing daily in the US and other countries around the world, so I continued to stay at home as much as possible. However, scientists worked around-the-clock in 2020 and developed more than one Covid-19 vaccine in record time! In the coming year, it is hoped that these vaccines will get the pandemic under control. I will patiently await my turn.

Photo Credit: Daniel Schludi on unsplash.com

My fractured leg in January caused me to miss a haircut appointment. Ditto for the blood clot in my lung in February. In March, the pandemic closed the beauty shops. I decided to take this opportunity to let my hair grow longer to see how I liked it. My experiment lasted until the day before yesterday, when I finally raised the white flag and got my hair cut. It’s very short again – and I love it! I won’t have to do that experiment again.

My sister and I went to the church one day and the pastor videoed our lighting the third Advent candle. The video was incorporated into the Facebook Live broadcast of the December 13 worship service. It was a joy to be in the sanctuary again and to see it decorated with greenery and poinsettias for the Advent Season. Due to my broken leg, I hadn’t been in the sanctuary since January 26. It was wonderful to be included in the worship service, even if on video.

I’ve enjoyed listening to the music of the Christmas Season, and the lights and ornaments on our Christmas tree have lifted my spirits. We might just leave it up until next Christmas. And I will continue to listen to Christmas music for a while.

This year of hibernation allowed me to plunge into the world of self-publishing. I learned how to format an e-book and I anticipate publishing the 174 local history columns from 2006 through 2012 in the coming months. I started writing historical short stories with another self-published book in mind.

I have a renewed purpose in life through my writing, and that has truly brought me joy during an otherwise dark and daunting year. I found that I’m happiest when I’m writing.

Okay. What’s the verdict? Did I find peace and contentment in 2020?

Photo Credit: Mar Cerdeira on unsplash.com

In many ways, I did. I’m fairly content with my life, but I’m not settling for the way it is. I’m not giving up on my dreams. I want to publish my Harrisburg, Did You Know? book of history columns. I want to publish a collection of my historical short stories. I want to see my historical novel in print. I want to quilt. I want to get all our genealogy notes together in a form that my niece’s and nephew’s descendants can make sense of their family history. I want to play the dulcimer. I want to read more books. If only I had the energy to pursue all my interests!

I think I learned some patience in 2020. I have a new appreciation for peace and quiet. I’m fortunate to have a slower pace of life now. Except for feeding the dog and administering his shots every 12 hours, I’m not on much of a schedule. Most days I get to do what I want to do, and most people in the world don’t have that luxury. Of course, it helps that I prefer to spend time at home, and retirement makes that possible.

In spite of all the mishaps in my life and the sadness that accompanies the pandemic, 2020 wasn’t such a bad year after all. My sister and I have not had Covid-19 or any other life-threatening medical diagnoses, except for my blood clot. We still have the love of family and friends. I have truly been blessed this year and throughout my life.

I know, more than ever before in my life that, as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What do I want in 2021?

I want to be a better person in 2021. I want to remember the words of Romans 8:38-39 every day. I want to take Micah 6:8 to heart and “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [my] God.”

I want the same things I wanted in 2020: peace and contentment. And that’s my wish for you in the coming year, too.

Janet

22 thoughts on “Did I Find Contentment and Peace in 2020?

  1. Well, I love reading your writing, Janet. This was beautiful and inspiring, and you made me smile, too. I had a cat with diabetes, and with his twice a day shots, he lived seven more years to sixteen. I wish you and your sweet pup many happy more years together, and yes, in 2021: peace and contentment for us all. ❤️

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  2. Thank you for your comments, Jennifer. I’m glad you liked my blog post this week, and thank you for the compliment! That sounds encouraging about your cat. Our dog is a rescue dog, so we don’t really know his age. The estimate now is 12, but I hope we’ll have some more good years with him. He’s precious. I hope you find peace and contentment in the new year. We all need some relief from all that’s happened in 2020.

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  3. I’m delighted to hear from you today, Rozina. Thank you for your well wishes and wishes for 2021. I enjoy your posts very much and look forward to seeing what you’re cooking in 2020. I wish you peace and joy and contentment in the new year. Take care.

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  4. I agree. I think most people thought 2020 would be a year to accomplish things, projects, perhaps move, travel, raise a family, buy a home, get a new job…so many dreams…and many other good things. I think we were lucky in many ways, blessed in more so. I thank God every day that my family and I are all safe, and like you said, we all had food on our table, a roof over our heads, medical attention should it be necessary and friends. Those are blessings. Yes, there is the other side, those who did not, or who had some but not all those wonderful things mentioned. There were many that we lost throughout the year. For those we should be thoughtful, careful, wise and prudent as we approach 2021. It is a year of hope for the world, a vaccine, light at the end of the tunnel, reassurances that this cannot last forever, and hoping that we outlive it, but hope nonetheless and that is a good thing as hope means faith and faith creates miracles. Happy New Year to you Janet. I have learned much from you throughout the year. I have truly enjoyed your posts which reflected optimism, happiness and the knowledge that in learning there is paved for us a road to the end of the world. And I certainly admire your talent and look forward to your book as well. Take good care, stay safe, stay well and may 2021 be a major blessing sent from God.
    F

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  5. What wonderful, thoughtful comments from you, Francisco. I’m glad if I’ve enlightened you in any way in the last year. You’ve certainly given me an appreciation for an art forms I’d not given much time to before. You’ve made me aware of artists I didn’t know about and shared insight about others. When I took an art appreciation course in college, the professor mainly concentrated on Picasso. I didn’t like Picasso and was disappointed that the course wasn’t more representative of the art world at large. One day the professor said to me, “I’m going to make you like Picasso, if it’s the last thing I do.” As you can imagine, that just made me dislike Picasso’s work even more! Picasso was a great influencer on your work, and following your blog has helped me to have a new perspective on his work. I still prefer your work to Picasso’s, but to each his own. Happy New Year to you and your family. May you continue to recognize and appreciate the blessings God sends us every day.
    J

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  6. Thank you, Francisco. I’d like to say more today but, after what happened yesterday, I’m having trouble finding adequate words. Stunned. Disgusted. Horrified. Angry. Sad. Outraged. Why virtually no arrests? Apparently, because the insurrectionists were white. If anyone thought there wasn’t a double standard in the US when it comes to skin color and justice, what happened and what did not happen yesterday at the US Capitol is clear proof that there is. Questions on so many levels. I have no words.

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  7. I quite agree Janet. I watched it here and we were all shocked. We could not believe that the US government had virtually no protection from such a violent mad mob. And it was all started with Trump’s inflammatory speech full of lies. I hope all ends well and Biden steps in and with a majority in the Senate, begins to clean up the mess this man has left behind over there so that over here we can rest easier as well. All the best,
    F

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  8. Forgive me for not responding to your comment until now. Quite honestly, I have spent very little time on the computer and most of my time following the news on various TV news outlets. My head is still spinning. With each passing day, more details about last Wednesday’s attempted coup come to light. I believe there are many people in government, the media, and even some in law enforcement with blood on their hands. I believe it will come to light that a few of the US Capitol police officers were complicit — having selfies taken with the terrorists, letting the terrorists enter the building in some usually-unknown-to-the-public entrances, and specifically attacking the unmarked office of SC Congressman Jim Clyburn but not his office labeled with his name. A few dishonest people in law enforcement and government can cause much damage. We’re waiting to see what mayhem Trump and his minions have in store for us in the coming days. Like you, I look forward to the day the entire world can rest easier because Trump is no longer in an official position of power. Thank you, as always, for your heartfelt comments. All the best to you and yours. J

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  9. We were all shocked especially seeing how little security the US government had. And now that more information has been given and we find that many politicians themselves were involved we are appalled. Protest is something I defend, even if I don’t agree with the cause but this was akin to the storming of the Bastille, they were trying to intimidate and destroy the government, I looked at those people as Trump’s stormtroopers it was incredible, surreal and unacceptable. How could the intelligence services not know, they did and were complicit just like many of those Capitol police officers. And what happened to “Blue Lives Matter”? They killed a cop! These people are not patriots, they are a mob and who knows what they can do next. I think the security forces need to focus not just on Trump but on the “ground commanders” of these radical, violent groups. Stay safe Janet, as we saw, they were not wearing masks nor do they care about spreading COVID. Take good care and all the best,
    F

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  10. Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts, Francisco. We are shocked and appalled. The US democracy is being tested like in no other time in history. Some people compare it to the crisis democracy faced at the time of the Civil War, but that insurrection wasn’t being led by the sitting president of the US. Waiting for more Republicans in Congress to speak out against Trump and what happened last Wednesday. Not holding my breath for that. The “party of law and order” and “party of family values” has sunk to a new low. They’ve proven that talk is cheap. They are spineless. And yes, they are the ones who beat a Capitol police officer to death. And Trump hasn’t made a statement about that officer’s murder yet! The flag on the roof of the White House wasn’t lowered to half-staff in honor of that officer until the middle of the afternoon yesterday! The US Capitol is a maze of halls and offices, so how was it that the terrorists found the offices they wanted to target with such ease, if not without the help of insiders — either Capitol police officers or members of Congress. And can the National Guard be trusted to keep the peace on January 20? Can the Secret Service members who have been willing to “take a bullet” for Trump ALL be willing to take one for Joe Biden? My confidence is severely shaken. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not call the Senate back into session before January 19. He’s complicit in all that has happened because he has done Trump’s bidding for the last four years. McConnell has way too much power. If he doesn’t want a bill introduced on the floor of the Senate, he can prevent it. He has ignored several hundred bills that the House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate over the last four years. Trump has played him like a fiddle. I’m so glad the Republicans will be in the minority in the Senate as of January 20 so McConnell will no longer be Majority Leader. I pray that the worst of the violence is over, but only time will tell. The Trump supporters have believed so many lies — and the biggest one of all is that the democratic process can’t be trusted to get us out of this mess. I’m staying safe. Staying home to avoid Covid-19 exposure. We’re ordering a month’s worth of groceries for pickup this Thursday to avoid going into a supermarket. I’ve rescheduled my annual eye exam from this Friday for a tentative date in April. We watch our church’s worship services on Facebook Live. We’ll get our vaccinations as soon as is possible for our ages in our county. What a world we live in! Take care. J

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  11. Yes, what a world! What a world has happened to us so quickly. Here the COVID situation is worsening every day. However, we are not as bad off, at least not here in my city. But to prevent further spread our president has ordered that bars and restaurants close at 5pm and our curfew now begins at 10pm nightly. We are waiting for the vaccine and the vaccination plan has started by vaccinating the elderly population living in the Senior living facilities. However the government is moving quite slow, I think. Recently the European drug administration has cleared the way for the Moderna vaccine, so we have two as we started with the Pfizer one. But it’s an uphill battle and only time will tell…we take good care and stay away from crowded places and always wear a mask and wash our hands and carry around a hand sanitiser gel. It’s very difficult to coexist with this virus. Reference the situation in the US, I hope that the few they did arrest face severe charges and that justice moves swiftly. I remember even back to the days when I was a cop in Miami that we were constantly being warned of those radicals calling themselves “sovereign citizens” who hate the government and are willing to kill cops in order to gain recognition and fame. I think that the government should act swiftly and effectively if they don’t want to face worse situations in the future. It’s a crazy world…hopefully things will go back to normal. I believe God is in charge and that things cannot possibly continue to be do tragic. I thank God every day for another day healthy and for my family and friends, so I am optimistic but careful. Take good care Janet, you are doing the wise and prudent thing. All the best,
    F

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  12. Thank you for your thoughts, Francisco. Let’s hope the distribution of the vaccines will speed up. It seems very slow here, too. I agree that God is in charge. It’s that free will He gave each person that worries me.

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