As 2020 winds down, don’t expect a flip of the switch anytime soon.
For many people, 2020 has been a dumpster fire. And that’s being gentle.
Between the big, outside picture and the pandemic, ludicrous politics, and vast uncertainty — this feels like the year that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, what it keeps giving is paper bags full of dog poo.
On a more personal level, people have had to contend with lost jobs, children splitting between being at school in person or online, adapting to practices of social distancing, mask-wearing, and other precautions. This has been a whole hell of a lot to digest, and people are feeling overwhelmed.
That’s not to say 2020 has been awful for everyone. I’ve gotten a much better focus on my writing practices and gotten quite a lot of work done as such. Many people have started businesses when they lost their jobs, connected more deeply with family, and developed better more sustainable work/life balance.
Still, for the most part, this year has been fraught with turmoil. Lots and lots of people I know will be thrilled to see it be over.
This will be a good mark of a time shift. However, nobody will be flipping some mystical switch to change the world at midnight on 1/1/21.
Recognizing this and acknowledging it will go a long way towards how you approach life, the Universe, and everything.
There are no quick fixes
Let’s just put this out there right off the bat. There are no quick fixes in life.
Many people make a living selling quick fixes. Lots of diet programs, supplements, and hooky-spooky practices promise fast results that will balance you.
And yes, you might see a quick result. However, it’s nearly always insufficient to create a real difference and make for lasting, effective change.
I could go on a diet featuring great supplements, meal-replacement shakes, and pre-prepared chemical products that will take a significant weight off me in a short time. But as soon as I stop using those and go back to my old eating habits, the weight will be right back — and probably add 10–20 more pounds, too.
We’re all anxious to see COVID-19 be brought under control. However, while a vaccine will be outstanding — it won’t do anything for the present circumstances. More people will get sick and die from it over the coming months, especially if people disregard the advice of Dr. Fauci and other experts to isolate, practice social-distancing, and wear masks in public.
Let’s face it — most anti-vaxxers certainly won’t take a COVID vaccine. The sad truth is that it’s not going away anytime soon. But maybe it will at least be brought under better control and the numbers will start declining significantly.
Even when Biden is inaugurated as President, it’s going to take a long time to undo the damage Trump and his administration has done. While having leadership capable of speaking in complete sentences and relying on science and reasoning will be a welcome breath of fresh air, the underlying issues created by Trump and his pals will take time to be changed.
Ergo, no quick fixes. At least, none for significant, lasting change.
This brings me to an important point.
You can’t have what was going forward
No, this is not a popular opinion — but the world as it was, pre-COVID, pre-Trump, is gone.
Plain and simple, it is no more. That’s not to say elements of it are not still in existence today — the present is made up of the past that created it — but what it was is not what is. Further, what was won’t be what is to come.
The biggest problem with this is that change is terrifying. People are afraid of change and all it represents. But it is not change they are afraid of, per se. It’s the suffering they fear they will have to endure due to change.
To quote a favorite line of mine from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist:
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”
The familiar is comforting and comfortable. It’s called a “comfort zone” because it’s like wrapping yourself up in a favorite blanket inside a pillow-fort with your favorite snack. Leaving it requires leaving the comfort, and people don’t like doing that if they can help it.
The problem with this is that EVERYTHING changes. Like it or not, change is inevitable. This is why what was will cease to be what is, and neither what was nor what is will be what’s in the future.
People fear that they will inevitably suffer because of this. However, more often the fear of the suffering truly is worse than any suffering you’ll experience.
It’s hard to convince people of this fact. And a lot of our leaders exploit that fear of suffering to gain the power they hold.
Slow and steady wins the race
Life happens. Every single day is a new day. Sure, lots of days are similar to one another, but they are ongoing and do not stop until you die.
Sorry if that’s harsh, but it’s a necessary truth to grasp. The race lots of people seem to be running is to get to death. Get through today to get to tomorrow — but, ultimately, how will it end?
By ending. Death is the end of life.
Are you in a rush to get to the end? I know I’m not. Thus, slow and steady, truly, wins the race is life.
And life IS the damned race.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live. Not simply exist and get through today to tomorrow. I want to live. To experience potential, possibility, and cool new things along the way.
Things that don’t change don’t grow. They stagnate — and in time fade away or disappear. Life works exactly like this. Growth, change, evolution are part of all our experiences.
Who you were as a child isn’t who you were as a teenager. Neither of those people is who you were as a twenty-something. If like me, you’re a forty-something, you’re not who you were in any of those prior periods.
Lessons from those times make you who you are today. Like or not, acknowledge it or not — who you are now is different. You changed. And you are continuing to change.
Slow and steady wins the race of life because slow and steady means more time and space to learn. Experience. Grow. Hopefully, enjoy.
You will have bad days. Shit outside your control will happen. But you can be mindful of this and choose how to move forward.
The race, ultimately, is life. Slow and steady means more potential, possibility, and experiences.
How are you running the race for YOUR life experience?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
Get my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better Here