Celebrating 2020 with Memories and Gratitude

“I’m ready for 2020 to be over!” 

Have you heard someone say that?  Have you said it?  I confess, I’ve thought it—as if turning the page of a calendar will magically make a worldwide pandemic disappear.  But when we go through a time such as this, with prolonged stress that doesn’t seem to have an end, how do we cope?  

Last week I decided it was time to make up my 2021 photo calendar.  (Did you read my story from last month about making our 2020 calendar?) Since it was such a hit, I thought we should make family photo calendars a trend.  But, I asked myself, did we even take enough pictures this year to create a full 12 months of memories?  (Even with a template of only one photo per month, do I even have 12 special memories to fill it?)

Finding Joy

To my amazement, there were all sorts of photos throughout the year.  Some goofy, some memorable, plus an inordinate number of photos of our cat, Max!  It was a great reminder that we did actually find moments of joy and celebration, tenderness and silliness.  And the photos of Max?  Well, I chalked it up to the fact that he’s currently the most adorable member of our family and, after all, we were home so much, it was easy to take pictures of him.

Going through this process proved what I already know and proclaim to others: our photos remind us of the good in our lives, even during the darkest times.  They may bring a few tears and feelings of sadness, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Even during a year of quarantine, national unrest, so many people suffering from anxiety, depression, and loss of a loved one–even then, there are highlights that are light, sweet, and fun to relive in a photo. They highlight for us what has inspired us to take out our phone (or camera) and capture a moment in time.

Now it’s your turn.  What does 2020 look like for you?  

Try this. Pull up all your photos from the year on your phone and go through them slowly.  Reflect and remember.

  • Were there more pictures from the first 2 months of the year than March through December?
  • Do you have photos of friends and family wearing masks? That will be something to look back on, right?
  • What are your highlights?  Are there more photos of certain family members…or pets?
  • What are you most grateful for–in the midst of the challenge?

Here are a few ideas to let your photos open the door and remind you of the good in 2020:

  • Linger on one photo at a time and remember each moment: the people, the joy in the room, etc.  Savor the feelings, the memories, and add them to your gratitude journal or say a prayer of thanks for the people in your life.
  • Choose one photo from 2020 and journal about the day it was taken.  Tell the story around it. What are you thankful for? What inspires, delights or encourages you as you remember that moment? 
  • Go through your year of photos and pull out the favorite pictures that make you smile.  You can create a 2021 photo calendar or a year-in-review photo book. Proof that you did more than survive 2020! 

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