The Gifts of 2020 by Gwynn Scheltema

If there’s one thing that I have learned during 2020, it’s the importance of kindness and acceptance and the finding of joy and fulfilment in the unexpected, big and small. And part of that is the acceptance of self, flaws and all.  So, in 2021 I’ve decided I am going to put kindness to myself first in any plans I make or goals I set, and strive for participation and passion, not perfection.

Unexpected writing gifts

Someone once said that if you think your glass is always half empty, then pour it into a smaller glass and quit whining.  I tried to take that approach in 2020 whenever new annoyances and problems arose, and realized that out of a seemingly all bad year, a number of things did go well for me.

I live out in the country, a good hour from all the people and events and activities I like to engage with. By May, a general acceptance of ZOOM and work-from-home meant I didn’t have to spend so much time travelling. That gave me more time for myself and my writing– a true gift.

And technologically, ZOOM was just the start. I gained a whole gift bag of new skills:  how to make videos, how to convert MP4s created on a phone to edited podcasts. I gave my first on-line workshop, becoming familiar with break-out rooms, gallery views, split screens and converting in-class learning materials to the screen. An arts group I volunteer with went virtual with Google Groups and Google Meet and is planning virtual arts activities I would never have imagined were even possible.  

I took part in virtual writing critique group meetings, online workshops and paint nights. I had time to read more. I enjoyed countless free offerings of art of all disciplines from around the world. So much to fill my creative well and give me new ideas. Another wonderful gift.

Being stuck at home allowed me to work on habits—breaking old bad habits and cultivating new ones to replace them. On the writing front alone, I have been able to get back into journalling morning pages and into genuine regular creative time. I’ve had time to sort through years of journals and boxes of scraps of paper to find half-written poems and story ideas and put them into digital files where I can find them again. I’ve been able to spend quality time on putting together my poetry collection, so that in 2021 it may actually finally be done! The gift of moving forward even when everything seems static.

Of course, my 2020 gift list is much longer, full of good things that happened or that I came to appreciate, but you get the drift.

Gwynn and her granddaughter enjoy a tea-party for princesses by Zoom

9 Comments Add yours

  1. ronaldmackay says:

    Thanks for the positive, upbeat words, Gwynn!


  2. Pat Skene says:

    An excellent post. I especially liked your reference to the glass half empty. It’s been a challenging year but full of blessings if you dig deep and find them. Well done Gwynn.


  3. Thanks Gwynn for such a positive approach to 2020. I’m amazed at your creativity!


  4. Shane Joseph says:

    We were gifted the mantle of “geek” in 2020. A gift not to be refused in these times.
    Great summary!


  5. Yes! Some things were lost but some good things have been gained through all this. Happy new year, Gwynn, and thanks for sharing this lovely reflection.


  6. mariearden says:

    Wow! You sure got busy this year! I’ll need another lockdown year to accomplish the same amount of organizing that you did. Congratulations. I definitely think you should do more virtual tea parties for princesses. That one looks so cute!


  7. masonjar77 says:

    Thanks, Gwynn. You inspire us to be thankful and to start doing.


    On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 11:00 AM Between Festivals: A Journal in Time of Pandemic and Lockdown wrote:

    > felicity936 posted: ” If there’s one thing that I have learned during > 2020, it’s the importance of kindness and acceptance and the finding of joy > and fulfilment in the unexpected, big and small. And part of that is the > acceptance of self, flaws and all. So, in 2021 ” >


  8. Diane Taylor says:

    Your 2020 year has been an explosion of gifts!


  9. kimaubrey says:

    Thanks for the wise words and positive outlook, Gwynn! Happy 2021!


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