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2020 is over, and if you’re reading this, congratulations, you survived!

Covid-19 has taken many lives, and whether you think the number is big or small in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant, because they are still precious human lives lost. Even if you don’t know someone that struggled with Covid, odds are that you have been impacted in some way.

If you worked in the food service industry, you could’ve lost your job. If you work in healthcare, like I do, you know how busy things have gotten, and how much is being asked of our already taxed healthcare workers.

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably spent more time with your family than you ever thought you could during quarantines and lockdowns. You’ve probably had to play the role of teacher on top of caregiver and provider.

So, just for fun, let’s look at some of the ways we’ve had to adapt to survive 2020 and some things we can look forward to in 2021.

More Time At Home

I’m kind of a homebody. Once I get home from work, I’m perfectly fine not going anywhere if I don’t have to. My wife is the exact opposite. She likes to get out of the house for a couple hours every day just to do something. Guess which one of us had trouble when schools were closed and we were on lockdown. We both did.

Having the kids at home all the time was incredibly stressful. I don’t think either of us really understood how much we looked forward to that time they were in school to get housework and grocery shopping and a slew of other things done.

And since my wife is immunocompromised because of a kidney transplant she had twenty years ago, we were limiting contact with everyone. So it was literally just us.

I know it’s not our job as parents to entertain our kids (we’re no helicopter parents), but we felt bad for them and we wanted to practice some positive parenting. So we came up with new and creative ways to keep things fresh around the house. I took up Minecraft to play with the kids and my wife kept a steady supply of crafts available for when that got stale.

Things got easier of course and we got used to it, but being in close quarters with our little people and no break was challenging in the beginning.

After a while, we ran out of things to do. Home improvement projects got completed, reading lists were conquered, and boredom and dissatisfaction reared its ugly head. We chose to face this by…

Practicing Gratefulness

With a five- and six-year-old stuck at home, 2020 presented a great opportunity for thankfulness.

We missed out on some things, playing with friends, going to the movies, but we used every missed opportunity to remind our children of everything we had to be thankful for.

No one we knew or loved died from Covid. Our jobs weren’t affected so we could still pay our bills.

We were able to show the kids how quickly the world could change, and how practicing thankfulness would go a long way toward keeping them content in trying times.

Trying New Things

Most people thrive on routine, but what happens when that routine is threatened?

You can’t always change your situation, but you can change your outlook. Just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you’re not capable of change. This principle doesn’t matter to us when we’re children because the very act of growing is all about change.

But when we get older, we like to settle into our habits and get pretty upset when something threatens their safety.

For example, as a firefighter, I have to stay in fairly decent shape to do my job well. Pre-Covid, this meant I spent around an hour in the gym every day followed by thirty minutes of cardio.

Now gyms aren’t such a good idea anymore, plus I don’t have all the extra time I used to. So in order to keep in shape, and keep an eye on the kids, and not spend a whole lot of money we didn’t have, I had to modify my workout routine, since it is, for me, essential to do my job well.

That was how I discovered the joys of combining a progressive calisthenic routine with cardio to keep me in what I now consider the best shape of my life.

My old slog through the gym doesn’t hold a candle to it, and if it weren’t for all the change we’ve been through in 2020, I would’ve never discovered it.

My kids often come with me, riding their bikes while I run, so we can all get some fresh air together and provide each other with encouragement and praise as we stay healthy.

Looking Forward…

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I don’t believe 2020 is the new normal.

If humans can survive the bubonic plague, smallpox, and polio, Covid won’t have a lasting negative effect on our world.

I’m a glass half-full kind of person, so I’m always looking for the positive. I know parents all around the world have lost much to 2020, but we’ve gained as well.

The MRNA vaccines are an exciting development, regardless of how you personally feel about the Covid one. This new treatment option will open all sorts of doors in the medical world, protecting parents and children from illnesses like never before.

As parents, I would optimistically say we’ve seen the worst of what Covid can do. We might face more lockdowns in 2021, but the thing is, that’s really just more of the same. More time playing teacher and more time with the people we love.

I know my family isn’t the only one that was able to adapt. If you’re reading this, you were able to survive as well, maybe you’re not thriving the way we are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! You and your children are capable of thriving no matter where you find yourselves.

Just do your best to keep this attitude going forward as a parent: you survived 2020!

According to the memes, this year has had about ten years’ worth of history crammed into it. And if you made it through all that with your family and your sanity still intact, then I’d say you’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2021.

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Adam Macdaniels - paramedic firefighter
Adam MacDaniels

A dad of two little girls plus he's a trained Paramedic and a Firefighter. Is there anything that Adam MacDaniels can't do??