Choose Another Way for 2021
By Mark Sanders
“Sometimes the story doesn’t make sense until the end. I don’t think our story is over.”
Trust me, I’m writing this as much for me as anyone else. After a bruising 2020, we all need a bit of a reset and I’m not talking about losing 10 pounds or more frequent trips to the gym. Many of us feel that we have become lost and separated – from a secure or hopeful future, from our families and neighbors, from our world, from ourselves.
However, many of us expect that reset to come from a change in external circumstances and external sources. “Once we all get the vaccine … once this person is in office … once I’m back at my job … once my kids are back at school, things will be better.” Unfortunately, as has become very clear, we have essentially no control over these external sources and need to shift our focus to an internal reset.
So, how do we reset when the world still feels out of control, inexplicable, hostile? It takes a commitment to determine what is important and seek to distance from those things that don’t. Without our normal anchors of daily life – office work, social get–togethers, church activities – it is easy to become lost.
Two months into 2021, look back to how you may have handled the situation already. Many of us have fallen into depression, anxiety, bad habits, fear, outright despair. However, the opportunity remains, as the world changes to something new, to choose our own direction. Be intentional about this direction by focusing your aim in life.
What can be done to push this great reset button? Live a life of significance, of higher expectations for yourself and those around you. What distracts us from our pursuits and how can we remove these distractions from our lives? Always question what matters to you and pursue that path above all others. Turn to stillness, presence and simplicity and learn to be more accepting of the uncertainty of the world. Do we truly believe that God is in control of the world, of our lives?
COVID–19 brought many challenges to the world, many of them unexpected and earth–shaking. However, there is no requirement that we just resume “normal life” again in the same manner we were living it. We can choose another way, a reset for 2021 and beyond.
Mark Sanders, MA, LPC, CAC III, is a therapist for St. Raphael Counseling, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Denver.