I don’t know why, but football has always felt a bit metaphoric to me. So many times, I’ve rooted for a team and watched them play valiantly only to be be knocked down and it felt a lot like life. Somewhere in my weird brain, it started to feel like if - just once - the team I was rooting for could win, maybe I could to.
Last year was difficult, to say the least. It had some amazing moments and I know without a doubt it was the beginning of something new and wonderful for me and my family, but it wasn’t an easy beginning. And for something new to begin, it means something else must end. It was a year of pain and growth and trials and so many things besides. But I believe in my heart the seeds planted in 2019 will grow into something beautiful.
I ended the year with a cancer scare, amongst other things. The tumor they found is benign, but the wait for the verdict felt long. There were a few things conspiring to make December a really difficult month for me. It very nearly won. By time people were dressing up for their New Year celebrations, I was the lowest I’ve been in a long time. The people closest to me were genuinely concerned for me, and they weren’t wrong to be.
And then I woke up on January 1, 2020, and it felt like a weight had been lifted. I don’t usually put much stock in the changing of the years. I don’t do resolutions. Midnight doesn’t feel magical to me. But this year felt somehow different. I knew in my heart it was time to move forward, to leave behind toxic relationships and habits. To stop expecting bad and keep reaching for good.
A friend of a friend commented on Facebook that after a turning point in her life, she started living as if the odds were stacked in her favor and it changed everything. It felt so profound to me. I hadn’t even realized how much I had come to expect life to suck. Sure, I kept looking for the good in all things, but I’d begun to accept that the team I was rooting for would lose.
I’m right there with all of the memes about January being a long year. By the end of it, my rekindled sense of optimism was already being sorely tested. But the reality is that a lot of good happened in the offset of 2020, too. I’ve taken better care of myself. Focused on the healthy relationships in my life. Written more than I have in years. Painted. Slept through the night.
My youngest son said he could see a difference in me, that I seem happier, lighter. He’s right. I am happier, and I have a pretty good idea of what I want - in life, in my career, and in a partner. And I’m no longer willing to settle for less. I’m ready to reach for the good, believing the odds are stacked in my favor.
So when the Chiefs won last night, I celebrated not only because I’m a huge fan, but because it felt like an affirmation that this is the year the team I’m rooting for can, in fact, win. And it’s spectacular.