• Stefanie Bittner


2020. This number is heavy. This number brings up all kinds of emotions and even physical responses. This number wants to be remembered even as we beg for it to be forgotten. This number signifies a year unlike any other that I, and so many other people, have lived. And yet, we lived it. We are on the other side.

How did 2020 shape you? Did it tear you down? Build you up? Completely turn your world upside down? Make you rethink your job, your relationships, your very identity? Probably. I know it did all of these things for me, and more. 2020 was hard. I learned so much about myself and I'm better for it. But I also wish that learning didn't have to happen in the midst of so much anxiety, tears and pain. I looked back over my year in the afternoon on New Years Eve after taking down all my holiday decor (and pulling/tearing a muscle in my leg while I was at it) and tried to put into words what had passed and what I hoped 2021 would bring.

I choose a word each year that I claim as my theme for the coming days and months. You know what my word for the 2020 was? AMAZING. So many times this past year I thought to myself, how is this year amazing? I'd pray that something would change and make it so. And you know what? Looking back at my year, there were some truly amazing things that I can point to. No, 2020 was not an amazing year. It was rough. But amazing things happened. Amazing people came into my life. Amazing realizations entered my mind. Amazing changes occurred in my body physically and emotionally. I filled a lot of lines in my journal with these things as I sat with my leg propped up on a stuffed shark my daughter so kindly offered me, drinking tea my son brewed for me, listening to my other daughter talking to my husband in the kitchen. And I claimed my word for 2021.

Courage. This is a scary word right now to me. It means keeping going when things seem hopeless. It means stepping yet again out of my comfort zone into situations I have no control over and rolling with the punches. It means changing things and accepting things. And I have a second word this year too. Creativity. The two Cs. This year I'm going to have to get creative with how I live, with how I work, with how I treat myself. Creativity goes hand-in-hand with courage because being courageous sometimes requires creativity to see something happen or grow. Being creative sometimes requires courage to do what you feel like you can't do or don't want to do.

So that's it. Here we go- into the thick of an already tumultuous 2021. With courage and creativity and a look back at the amazing things (big, small, and even miniscule) that 2020 gave us.

~ Stefanie


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