We lost much this past year.
We lost graduations and weddings and funerals. Backyard barbecues and big Thanksgiving dinners.
We lost our sense of normalcy, our sense of connection – physical and emotional. We lost the security of schools and jobs and routines and the daily interactions we didn’t realize meant so much.
We lost faith. In our institutions, in the people who were entrusted to run them, in our fellow man. We lost the idea of absolute truth. Of science. Of civil responsibility.
We lost people. Too many. Intellectual and cultural icons whose deaths have left deep scars in our national psyche. But also over 500,000 neighbors, parents, and friends, as well as dozens of men and women whose names were unknown until they died doing things most of us take for granted.
The grief that accompanies the past year is real. What we have lost is real.
But not all of it was bad.
We lost our blind devotion to the cult of busyness. When the world shuttered its doors, our lives were laid bare and we were forced to step back and consider whether we were doing things because they brought us joy or because everyone else was.
We lost the crutch of planned activities and found our imaginations. We found our backyards. We found books and games and movies. We found conversation. We found each other.
We lost weight. Just kidding – we gained a bunch of it. But we did it by being in the kitchen trying new recipes and eating together as families again.
We lost our comfort and our blinders. And after we sat with that discomfort, instead of just ignoring or avoiding it, we embraced it and recognized it was an opportunity to learn and to grow.
We lost our complacency and found a sense of urgency. We marched and we volunteered and we donated. We engaged. We voted.
We lost our preconceived notions about how things should work. We turned dining rooms into offices, windows into message boards, parking lots into restaurants, and videos into classrooms. In the midst of physical isolation, we found new ways to connect, to build communities, to take care of others. We Zoomed happy hours, did drive-by birthdays, and sent meals to healthcare workers we didn’t know. Physical distance was no match for our creativity or our hearts.
There has been much we lost this past year. And as important as it is to acknowledge our grief, we must also do better at celebrating our successes.
Let us not lose sight of what we have become. We survived every last thing the world threw at us. We bested the worst of days, the hardest of circumstances, the most challenging of times. Actually, we did more than survive.
We survived and advanced.
Join Cameron on her website Lucky Orange Pants or on Facebook where she writes about parenthood, loss, and loving hard. Her work also appears on Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, Babble, Yahoo Parenting, Her View From Home, The Mighty and more.
A version of this post first appeared as a microblog here.