Welcome back! Last week we had a guest blogger who shared with us her journey living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.

Linda Tate

This week, I get to say my goodbyes. The Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation hired me in August of 2017. I’ve shared my research, my opinions, and my life with you for three years now. Can you believe it? We went from a readership of under 50 to exposure from Newsbreak which gives us the potential to reach 20 million or more readers. We are read internationally now! Unbelievable.

As we say goodbye to 2020, I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head. It’s hard to express what this year has meant to me on a personal level. Professionally, nothing changed. The Foundation was steady as a rock, and I never missed a day of work due to the pandemic. I’ve always worked from home, sometimes working late into the wee hours of the morning because my research took me down a rabbit hole and I’m nearing a deadline, so work from home mandates didn’t phase me like it did my husband, who needs the office to focus.

What did change me was, I think, what changed many of us. The disbelief that this was happening. The struggle to adapt to change. The pain of not being able to hug our loved ones, and the realization that we are in it for the long haul. We may be answering to changing mandates for years. It’s unsettling.

What I’ve realized this year, is that 2020 was giving us many, many opportunities to change the core of who we are, and many took that opportunity.

Just look at the things we accomplished! The hospitals put out a “100 million mask” challenge and people from all walks of life sat down and learned to sew masks. The goal was met and then some. Rosie the Riveter would have been proud. When the fires hit in Oregon, men and women banned together to put out the fires, make meals for each other, moved livestock to the fairgrounds, and offer shelter to entire families. We are a nation of doers.

2020 gave us the opportunity to serve.

When the fires worked their way closer to my sisters’ homes, 2020 showed me that humans have a deep capacity to forgive. You never know how you will react to an estranged sibling until the chips are down and their very life is in danger. I don’t need to wonder any longer how I would react. As I sat on the phone begging my sibling to come to our home where they would be safe, I also thanked 2020 for giving me that opportunity to change my attitude. To be kind, not salty.

2020 gave us the opportunity to be humble.

This year brought unrest in our cities, and 2020 asked us to reach for a deeper understanding of how our nation handles bias and confirmation bias. Regardless of how you felt about the protests and riots, those events led to conversations that we otherwise wouldn’t have had, and hope for a better future for all people, not just a few.

2020 gave us the opportunity to know better so that we could do better.

Many lost a loved one or knew of others who lost a loved one in 2020. Our Greatest Generation left us in droves this year. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, only 325,574 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive in 2020. That means we are losing 296 men and women a day. The pandemic forced our elderly into isolation, alone, untouched, unsure if they would ever see their families again.

2020 gave us the opportunity to cherish the elderly in our lives.

As December 21st approached, 2020 brought with it a once in a lifetime opportunity to see two planets align, giving us a glimpse of the Christmas Star. Most of us were able to see it at one point or another. It was amazing, to say the least.

2020 reminded us to look up.

As we begin to close the book on a year that was such a challenge in so many ways, we can also look forward to what lies ahead. Better communication skills, the ability to love each other regardless of our differences, the ability to empathize with the plight of the poor and the downtrodden, and an overall insight into our own egos and transgressions will soon make themselves obvious. We will grow as a Nation, and as individuals, exponentially in the coming year.

It’s time to look up, dear readers…2021 is telling us that the winds of change are upon us. Like Mary Poppins, I urge you to open your umbrella and take a chance. Open your heart to the possibility of a world where we all get along, regardless of our political leanings, in spite of a pandemic, and because we know better.

The alignment of the stars led wise men to a baby in a manger, helped a lost hiker find their way out of the woods and aided a seaman in navigating his ship.

We can always count on the stars to guide us home.

Goodbye 2020, and thanks for the lessons.

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