2020: A Lesson In Time

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Lesson in Time

I usually spend the last week of each year going through photos and videos on our family devices, cleaning up the “Read These Things” folder on my computer, powering through final To Dos, and digitizing some paper that accumulated in my office over the year. It’s been an annual tradition for most of my professional life and a ritual that helps me start a new year with clarity. I’ve begun most first weeks of a new year with a clear email inbox, an office devoid of paper, no pressing house To Dos, and no personal finance cleanup. It always devolves quickly, but it feels great for those first few days of a new year.

I couldn’t get everything cleaned up from 2020. Couldn’t make it happen this year. There was too much. And not enough time.

And so, I sat in my home office the Sunday after New Year’s, and gazed at the emails and the paper and the financial documents; all of the 2020 leftovers. And I thought about time.

Time got weird in 2020. I imagine you felt it in a number of ways. Between work from home, virtual schools, rescheduled plans, closed/reopened/closed/limited capacity businesses, and a steady stream of divisive rhetoric, we lost track of a lot. Time was no exception.

We joked that 2020 felt like a year by June. A decade by year end. But we also found new ways to spend our time. We rediscovered hobbies. We picked up the old guitar. We started woodworking or making pottery. We read books. We did puzzles. We sat down to the dinner table with the family every night. In many ways, we rediscovered lost time.

Many of you are craving “normalcy.” I get it. You want to have a maskless date night at a restaurant. You want to travel. You want to hug Grandma. You want your children to have birthday parties surrounded by friends again. There are plenty of “normals” for which I’m longing too.

But, whenever normalcy returns, I hope you’ll remember how you adjusted in 2020. And I hope you’ll retain some of the “abnormal” ways you spent your time. Whether it is more time with family, an emerging hobby, or new ways to educate yourself, I hope you’ll appreciate and embrace how time changed in 2020.

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