I didn’t get to see a lot of your year, but I do see you.
An open letter to all of us.
Hey friend, we made it.
I know it’s been one hell of a year and I didn’t get to see a lot of it, but I see you. And I’m so proud.
There’s so much we miss behind face masks and closed doors, beyond six feet apart, the damn Plexiglass and computer screens. So much happens in between phone calls and check-ins. All we see are slivers of each other’s reality.
I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a hug when you were falling apart, or a high five when life tasted oh-so-sweet. I didn’t get to see your trials, triumphs, heartaches or happiness as it happened. I missed that deep breath you took before you had that difficult conversation, or the smile you had to muster to be strong for someone else. I missed the sigh of relief when you heard the good news, and the victory dance when you perfected that recipe. For a lot of it, maybe it felt like you were going through the year alone.
But I see you trying your best each day, getting up and showing up even when none of us know what we’re doing or have any guarantees of how any of it will turn out. I see the human being that’s somehow hopeful and hurting, compassionate and cautious at the same time.
Maybe this year you lost someone you care about and had to carry the grief on your own. Or you lost your dream job, had to switch paths to make ends meet, or learned to work from home — with or without kids. You tirelessly looked after everyone else. You took a chance — for a career, a cause, or for love. You let some people go and let some people in. Whichever way it turned out, I hope you’re proud because you were brave.
Perhaps you finally stood up for yourself or for someone else, even when your knees were buckling. You said ‘yes’ to new opportunities and had to figure it out as you went. You lost familiar faces but found family among strangers. Maybe you had to learn a lot of things and more importantly, unlearn a bunch too. You got stretched beyond how you anticipated, or took a leap and hoped for the best. Maybe this was the year you found your own convictions, faced your demons, and defined what actually matters.
There’s still so much we don’t know about what is ahead and it can feel like an unending fog. But we carry on as we must, hoping the good days we’ve saved in our back pockets can tide us over until the next one.
We have all lost and we have all gained in one way or another. Whether you arrive here tired or thriving, you made it. This year brought out the best and worst in us. Shook us in our boots. Cracked us open so we can let the light in and let go of the rest.
I can never fully know what this year was like for you.
I saw a fraction and can only imagine the rest, but here we are: living, breathing, somehow still standing. I know I didn’t see a lot of it, but I see you…
And you’re wondrous.