Is 2020 finally over?

Moore-Sobel

The holiday season is upon us.

For many, this is welcome news, because it means 2021 has almost arrived. For some, 2020 can’t end fast enough.

For me, it’s a bit more complicated. The year 2020 has held mountaintop moments. First and foremost, I married the love of my life, Megan. Also, my book, Can You See My Scars?, was published after ten long years of writing. Lastly, I earned a promotion at work that led to me a management position I’ve dreamed of for a long time. As a friend recently told me, “For such an awful year, you are making the best of it!” But I think this sentiment is true of many of us. We have made it through 2020, even in the most difficult circumstances.

The pandemic has also helped clarify my life’s vision. It’s informed my role as a husband – to treat my wife with empathy and be attuned to her needs in the midst of this challenging time. It’s informed my work as a manager – to treat the people on my team with respect and encourage them to confront new challenges, especially in the midst of working remotely. Lastly, it’s informed the purpose of my book – to make an impact in the lives of others, and to provide tangible tools others can use when facing adversity.

I was contacted recently by a fellow trauma survivor. We spoke on the phone, and he said, “I just wanted to talk to someone who understands.” While our experiences differed, there were similarities. He asked some of the same questions I asked after the accident, such as “Who am I now?” We shared stories, and I did my best to offer words of encouragement and hope. He shared an important reminder: “Something good has to come out of everything, I think you’ll agree with me on that.” I do agree. Even if it is hard to find the silver linings.

The pandemic has forced many of us to spend an inordinate amount of time at home. Many of us are tired of looking at the walls of our house. As we enter these winter months, it’s likely we will continue to be confined. But I think this also presents an opportunity for us to dream and make plans for the future. My wife and I hope we’ll get the chance to travel next year, and to make the most of the early years of our love story. We hope to make new memories and have fantastic adventures, all while enjoying the life we have now.

As a teenager, I loved watching the television show, Scrubs. I’ve been re-watching the show lately, and doing so has reminded me of how far I’ve come since I watched the show last (right after the accident where I sustained second- and third-degree burns). The Season 8 finale, when J. D. (Zack Braff) says goodbye to the hospital he’s worked at for eight years, is especially poignant.

“As for the future…it could be whatever I want it to be,” Braff says at the end of the episode. He then proceeds to watch his vision of the future unfold in front of him, to the tune of “The Book of Love.” “The book of love is long and boring…” Marriage. A beautiful celebration of Christmas with his new family. I used to watch this montage and long for what I saw unfolding on the screen. This Christmas, I’ll be marveling that 11 years later, my wife and I will be celebrating our first Christmas together. I’ll be reflecting on this sad, challenging year, while also recognizing that it has been one of the happiest of my life because of my marriage. I think we can hold these two feelings in tandem—the intense grief over all this year has brought us, including the deaths of more than 245,000 Americans, and counting, due to Covid-19, as well as the unique joys and gifts this year has given us—even if it means we have to look a little harder for them than usual.

Samuel Moore-Sobel is the author of Can You See My Scars? You can find his book on Amazon – it makes a great inspirational gift for the holidays.

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