There’s a book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while now called “Lost and Found.” It’s written by Geneen Roth (the author of Women, Food, and God). While I still haven’t had a chance to read it, the title has been jumping out at me lately. I’m not entirely sure what Geneen Roth means by the title (I’ll let you know after I read the book), but for me, the phrase “Lost and Found” brought a new perspective as the end of 2020 approached and I began reflecting on the year that will, without a doubt, go down in history.
Considering “Lost and Found”
There are many lists we make in life as we process things: pro/con lists, love/hate lists, etc So it’s not a surprise that as I considered how I wanted to process all that happened in 2020, a little voice inside was whispering to me: make a list.
But what kind of list? I wondered. And then there it was, jumping off the bookshelf once again: Lost and Found.
Let’s face it, 2020 was devastating. As COVID-19 made it’s way across the planet and through our lives, everything changed. What I quickly began to realize, though, was that life doesn’t stop for COVID.
The normal things that happen in life don’t get put on hold while we deal with a global pandemic. Stress, anxiety, loss of friends, loss of lives, car accidents, pet surgeries, theft–COVID-19 doesn’t pause them; it exacerbates them.
Similarly, the good stuff doesn’t stop, either. New jobs, new friends, beautiful sunsets–these things carry on, too.
When I think of the year I had in 2020, I realize it was filled with good and bad. There were things lost, and things gained. Some of the losses ended up good, some did not, and some of the gains could only happen because of what was lost.
Unlike a “good/bad” or “pro/con” list, a “Lost and Found” list allows for the gray. It allows gratitude and grief to coexist, neither trying to take control of the other.
Making a Lost and Found list
The process of curating my Lost and Found list in my mind was helpful, but putting it down on paper was the truly therapeutic part. I was surprised by the new things that turned up as I started writing, including things I’d forgotten or was taking for granted. Seeing my list laid out in front of me also helped me see the ongoing give and take of life.
I want to share part of my list with you because I know sometimes the best way to conceptualize how something may benefit you is to see an example of it.
Things I Lost in 2020
Most items on this list are things I didn’t want to lose; however, some of them are actually things I was happy to let go of. Loss is not always bad.
- Life (of people I know and people I don’t)
- Career opportunities
- Social interactions and time with family
- Familiarity (after moving to a new city)
- Sense of safety and stability
- Simplicity (making appointments, getting groceries, etc)
- The pressure to always be doing
- Chronic, (often crippling) anxiety
Things I Found in 2020
For me, my Found list turned out to be all positives. For you, it may be different. The only thing I encourage you to do is to look at the full picture: the good, bad, and neutral.
- New friends and friendships reborn
- Access to international workshops and seminars
- Career opportunities (notice how this one is both in the Lost and Found list?)
- Space, quiet, calm
- Permission to slow down
- New hobbies (including joining an RC Flying club!)
- Finding new ways to connect with people
- The river (if you follow my Instagram, you know how much I love the river)
- A new home in a new city I love
- Simplicity in my day-to-day routine
- Time and space for personal growth
- Renewed love of reading
- Clearer direction of what I want my life to look like moving forward
Reflecting on My Lost and Found List
Looking over my two lists I realize they are about equal. Maybe your list will have more in the Lost category; maybe it will have more in the Found.
The point isn’t to curate or try to achieve any specific balance. The purpose of this process is to reflect on the year as a whole–not just the good and not just the bad. Because, as we know, life is rarely black and white.
Making Your Own Lost and Found List
I encourage you to make your own Lost and Found list. My guess is that as you were reading this blog, your mind was already putting one together. Now get it down on paper. I started my list weeks ago in my mind, but getting it down and into physical form had its own therapeutic benefits. So pull out a piece of paper or a note-taking app, make your two columns, and let it flow.
I don’t know what to expect in 2021; none of us do. But what I can guarantee is this: as every year before it, there will be things we lose and things we find.
If you choose to make a list, I’d love to hear what the process was like for you! You can even share your list (or part of it) in the comments if you’re comfortable doing so. If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that we’re all connected and that connection is so so important. xLaurenB
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Feature Image credit: © Photo by Lauren Bersaglio