When I entered 2021 a year ago, I was optimistic.
I was optimistic that the world would be moving through the pandemic.
After how brutal 2020 was, who can blame me for being hopeful?
Unfortunately, for me anyways, 2021 can best be described with: “Well, that didn’t go as planned.”
Restrictions have been on again, and off again, and on again.
New variants of COVID-19 have popped up.
The Alberta health system has been hit heavily.
This fall has been particularly brutal, with several people within my circle passing away, some even with COVID.
Hitting me particularly hard was the loss of a good friend at the end of November.
These losses occurred in combination with the fact that the fall and winter months have not been particularly my best times of year, either, over the last several years.
The combination of long, dark, dragging nights and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season have always succeeded in feeding my depression.
Compounding those issues, 2021 has introduced new changes to me as well.
I’ve started a new job, and I’ve doubled up my course load at school which is succeeding in doubling up my stress level.
In short, with the year that has been 2021, if I were to be primed for a mental health-related relapse, the last two or three months would have been just the kindling needed to start it.
Instead of being in a relapse though, I am feeling mentally stronger than I have in years.
For a change, I’ve actually looked forward to Christmas.
Despite the added stress of the job, I’m thriving with the work.
Same with school.
I wonder how I have gotten to this point, because five years ago being where I am did not seem possible.
A quote by motivational speaker Les Brown comes to mind when I think about the last year, as well as the last five.
“If you do what is easy, your life will be hard,” said Brown, during one of his YouTube videos.
“If you do what is hard, your life will be easy.”
That sentiment rings as true today as it did the first time I heard it several years ago.
Doing the hard things — pushing myself in school, in work, in life — has been challenging.
Pushing through therapy, even when I wanted to quit, was hard.
Challenging myself to keep increasing my workload with both work and school has been hard.
Getting up for those early morning workouts has been harder still.
Something I’ve learned this year is that the hard work pays off.
It toughens your mind, as well as your body, and when challenging times happen, as they invariably do in everyone’s lives, we are better able to get through them.
Doing the hard thing has allowed me to get through 2021 unscathed, and looking forward to 2022.
It has got to be better than the last couple of years, right?