2020

I’m tiring of the endless chatter about how awful the year 2020 is. To the latest negative news that’s reported, someone inevitably responds with “Cuz 2020.”

The amount of online dialog about how lousy this year has been is staggering. With every passing day, there seems to be some new low that only reconfirms how bad 2020 is, as if we’re fast approaching Armageddon.

Now granted, this year has sucked on many, many levels: the pandemic and all that that implies, the resultant economic hardships, and a seemingly endless and bitterly divisive political season, from which I yet see any signs of escape.

Yet, looking back over the year, I may be so bold as to ask, “Is this my best year ever?” Let’s review:

1. 2020 has been the healthiest year of my life. I’ve given up drinking, lost 27 lbs., hired a nutritionist, and also hired a personal trainer to get into much better physical shape.

2. I’ve done more reading this year than EVER before. As a result, I’ve learned so much and have benefitted from fresh ideas like never before. The lockdown has afforded time to read many books, subscribe to a handful of periodicals, and I’ve hunted for deep dive, long-form essays online. It has been glorious. Before this, I never felt I had the time to invest in serious reading.

3. I’ve embarked on a significant new writing project, my first novel. I’ve never written fiction before, so this promises to be a fun challenge. I’m committed to completing this project, but at this point, I’m not worried about getting it published. That’s a decision for down the road. But at this point, it presents a difficult but fun creative project to invest my energy in. This is not a project I would have undertaken in “normal” times.

4. The Todd & Stephanie Schnick Foundation has had a really great year, despite launching in the midst of a pandemic, and has occupied a lot of my time. We’ve had a series of successful projects, made respectable strides in building our brand, grew a donor base, partnered with the likes of Maria Shriver and Kevin Bacon, and hit our fundraising goal for the year! We are nicely positioned to springboard to bigger and better things in 2021.

5. And although my business has been altered because of the pandemic, it is still here, still bringing in revenue, and keeping me creatively challenged.

So, for me at least, I see this year as one of my best. I’m not suggesting that I am glad it happened the way that it did, but I feel pretty good that despite it all, we took advantage of it and made progress. To be clear, I work for myself, so my job was never threatened, and we have taken extra precautions, so as of this writing, we have not gotten COVID-19, and have remained safe and healthy.

I credit my stoicism studies for putting me into the right mindset for this crazy year. One of the key tenets of the philosophy is this: “It’s not the event itself that is bad, but rather, how we react to the event.” I chose to make something good of 2020, anchored by my intense focus on wellness, and that has springboarded me in several positive directions.

Three declarations: there are those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, have gotten very sick, or have lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19. Second, there are those who valiantly go to work each day in hospitals, somewhere in the supply chain and the front lines, serving all of us with courage and tenacity. And thirdly, the parents who have also become educators. Our prayers continue to be with all of these fine people.

But there does seem to be a fair amount of people who have allowed 2020 to define them, who have written the year off as a disaster, and used the travails of 2020 as an excuse to accomplish and achieve very little. And instead of fighting to make something good happen, they have decided to concede defeat, and spend every waking moment watching Netflix.

Look, I’m as ready as the next person to move along to 2021, but only because I am excited about where things are going next, rather than simply hoping to turn the page from 2020.

We all have the power to decide what the events in our lives mean to us, and to use that as inspiration to work towards achievements, or excuses.

What will you do?