Happy New Year – a new beginning awaits all of us.
As we closed out 2020, I am struck by how much I have learnt about myself in a year filled with many moments of anxiety, fear, disappointments, anger and sadness, but also a year punctuated by love, inspiration, gratitude, accomplishments and lots of self-reflection.
At the start of 2020, no one would have predicted our lives would be so dramatically changed by the novel coronavirus pandemic. People quickly became infected with the virus, cities started implementing lockdown orders, where everyone had to work from home, non-essential businesses were closed, schools got shuttered and we were not permitted to dine in restaurants or work out at our beloved gyms, and borders between countries were closed. For me, and probably for many of you, that was the beginning of an unimaginable year of chaos, uncertainty and vulnerability.
During the many months that followed the lockdown, I have to admit that there were times when I was frustrated and mad from being stuck 24/7 at home (especially during the many grey rainy weeks in Seattle), from not being able to travel to see my family while worrying about them, from not being able to hug my friends when I see them, and from having to avoid other people (and they avoiding me) when I am out on my run or walk as if we were all lepers. Then I reminded myself (and continue to remind myself) that this is the new normal for now, that we have to make sacrifices in order to stay safe and heathy, to reduce the chances of spreading the infection to others, and to maintain hope and optimism that things will get better in time.
On top of dealing with the pandemic, we had uncontrollable wildfires causing massive loss and destruction, smoked-filled air that clogged our lungs for months, protests over the police killing of George Floyd and fight for racial justice, political upheaval, economic crisis, and of course, let’s not forget the “murder hornets” haunting us. What a crazy batsh!t year!
Now 2020 is finally over. I know some of you have certainly suffered much more than I did in 2020, with perhaps having compromised health issues, loss of loved ones to COVID-19, losing your job or having economic hardships, stressed out from home schooling your kids while working at the same time, and other situations that I cannot even imagine, and my heart goes out to all of you.
I would like to, however, personally end 2020 by celebrating key positive things that have happened for me in 2021, however small, and invite you to do the same.
So, here are some positives that occurred in my personal life in 2020:
- All my loved ones and friends have managed to stay safe and healthy in 2020.
- I learnt to overcome my claustrophobia with mask-wearing, especially when engaging in activities (something I never thought I would be able to do before 2020).
- I painted my entire house, about 30 walls and 100 trims, in three weeks and am quite proud of my accomplishment every time I looked at my walls.
- I backpacked into the gorgeous Enchantments this summer (a bucket list item) and took a gazillion pictures on my iPhone.
- I started an account on Instagram under the name of “begoodtoyourself_thekoaclub” where I posted one-minute videos of activities I did that made me happy and smile, and reminding others to also take a little bit of time in their busy day to be good to themselves.
And, of course, here are some positives that occurred with The Koa Club:
- Instead of shelving the club during the pandemic, we quickly and deliberately transformed the club beyond a local Seattle social club into a global social and leadership community focused on empowering women in their professional and personal lives, with women members now located in different parts of the U.S. and in other countries.
- The club curated about 50 events/workshops in 2020 (where most of the workshops/events were held online) and we were able to successfully support our members with numerous topics that were particularly useful during the highly stressful year.
- We created a new level of free “Awesome” membership, so that women achievers who wanted to be a part of the Club but were not able to pay the annual membership fee due to unexpected financial constrains at this time or who were not ready to take full advantage of the club, could still join this incredible community of strong achieving women.
- We developed a private social network platform to allow our paid “Beyond Awesome” members to continue to socialize and connect with other members, speakers and various resources.
- We created a Koa Ambassador program, where designated Koa Ambassadors would connect with our members to help improve their experience in the club.
- We opened up a number of events/workshops to the community for free to provide the support we believe could make an positive impact for the community at large during the pandemic and economic downturn, including the highly popular Monthly Luncheon Panel Discussions.
I am excited but also cautiously optimistic about 2021 and know that, though it may be quite a while before we can go back to somewhat of a “normal” way of living (hugging loved ones without fear of spreading infection, travelling to foreign destinations, dining out, watching a movie in a theatre, attending a sports game, concert, race or parade with thousands of other people, etc.), we are all, as a human race together, working hard and patiently towards that goal.
2020 has strengthened my belief that no matter what life throws at us, we will always find ways to make it through somehow, rising stronger and more resilient than before, especially knowing that we are not alone in our struggles.
I am filled with hope for a better tomorrow around the corner and I wish the same for each of you as we embarked our journeys into 2021.
Have a safe and healthy start to 2021 and “see” you soon!
Founder & CEO
The Koa Club
Be Brave. Be Koa