Finding the Good

EnCompass Magazine

In a year so full of challenges, it’s easy to become mired in negativity. So, we asked AAA Members to seek out the positives—things they learned about themselves, surprising ways their lives changed for the better, and what they’re most looking forward to next year. Read some of what they had to say, and find out how to share your own stories.

Lessons Learned

Michelle K. on finding time to learn and grow:

“About a year ago, I decided to change careers and become a life coach. I was just starting to go out networking one-on-one, and then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. So, we started doing it all on Zoom calls and Skype and Webex, but my skills were more suited for one-on-one. So, I decided to use the extra downtime to take online training courses that would help me learn how to grow my business, Soul-ga with Michelle Life Coaching. It was the perfect opportunity to take the aftereffects of this pandemic and make them into something good.

“At home, we just really tried to make the best of things. We started eating better, for example. I was already a proponent of having groceries delivered, but with the extra time, I could really fine-tune my menus and get my teenage kids involved. They were so tired of playing on their phones that they’d be like, ‘Hey, Mom, what are you gonna do today?’ I’d have them cook with me or plan a menu. And I think it really strengthened the bond for me and my teens. I’m sure they’ll want to go back to doing things with their friends, but I don’t think it’ll take away from that bond that we strengthened even more during this time.”

“Adaptability is the key to success. No matter how bad things seem, you can always find something to be grateful for.”

–Robin D.

“I have learned that we have to be more compassionate and listen more. During times of added stress, it helps to keep an open mind and listen to others in order to better understand their perspectives.”

–Ian H.

“I have learned how to save and budget my money better. I also found that sharing a smile can make a difference in a person’s day.”

–Shauna W.

“I miss going to restaurants, going to events, and traveling the most, but I’ve been able to save some money, take an online photography class, practice my computer photography skills, read more books, and binge watch some really fun television series.”

–Shari T.

Unexpected Blessings

Cindy K. on mastering a new way of teaching:

“I started teaching math six years ago and had just changed grade levels from high school to middle school two years ago. So, I had that learning curve, and then I was thrust into a distance-learning situation with my students—all 129 of them.

“It seemed like such a daunting task to all of a sudden switch gears from in-person teaching to online. It was a lot of trial and error. I tried different things, and when they didn’t work, I tried something else until I finally found my groove. That made me realize that I can do really difficult things. I don’t have to have that mindset of ‘oh, no, this is terrible.’ It’s just ‘what are my resources and how can I use them?’

“It took a lot of patience on everybody’s part—teachers, students, and parents. And I was really impressed with most everyone. My students appreciated my efforts, too. Some of them sent thank-you cards and emails, which made it all worthwhile. You don’t expect anything like that, so when it comes, it’s just really touching. When it’s not something they’re required to do, you know it comes from the heart, and that makes it extra-special.”

“I was suffering from anxiety due to COVID-19 and found a Facebook group that connects women. One of them brought over a care package with wine and other items, and it inspired me to do the same for two women. One I didn’t know, and it just so happens the day I brought her wine and gift was her wedding anniversary.”

–Lisa S.

“I’ve treasured the opportunity to spend more time with my 17- and 20-year-old daughters. Under normal circumstances we would probably rarely see them. But this year, we’ve had a chance to reconnect and gain insight into a stage in their lives we typically wouldn’t be privy to.”

–Joe. T.

“A year ago we were making memories on our first river cruise with AAA. During this ‘stay at home’ time we have been creating an album of those picture and dreaming of our future Rhine river cruise.”

–Larry E.

“During this pandemic I put up a fence in my backyard, which allowed me to get two new best friends, Koda and Yuki—my two Great Pyrenees dogs! They make me laugh and we really love them. My family and friends are very important to me, and I’m excited to see everyone again and make more great memories together.”

–John A.

Hope for the Future

Livia G. on seeing the good in the bad:

“Earlier this year, when Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana, I was worried for my family and friends who lived there and couldn’t bear the thought of not being with them. I felt hopeless. After about five excruciating days, I finally heard that everyone was accounted for and doing ok.

“While we’ve lived through many hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina, this one really resonated with me. What many people aren’t aware of is hurricanes don’t just cause devastating destruction from wind and water damage, they can also cause the loss of life, livelihood, and a sense of security and well-being. I’m forever thankful and blessed that all my friends and family are safe; however, some lost everything—literally, everything—as many homes, including their personal items, were under 20-plus feet of water—that’s a two-story house!

“My family had more than 2,000 cattle wash out to sea, which means we lost a primary source of income. There was no electricity or running water for more than three weeks, causing diminishing sanitation and health issues.

“There have been a lot of horrible events this year—a global pandemic, violent riots, endless wildfires, etc.—but what I noticed in the aftermath of this latest hurricane was something different. Something I’d never seen before. As with most natural disasters, our community came together to clean and rebuild, but we also had help from outsiders from all over the country. From search-and-rescue teams helping find loved ones to the delivery of fresh water to restoring the electricity, every single person was a hero. This time, I saw passion and fire in everyone’s hearts.

“With all the negativity, it’s times like these that restore my hope and faith in humanity and make me love and appreciate the life I’ve been given.”

What silver lining did you find in 2020?

Share your unexpected blessings and lessons learned with us on Facebook and Instagram using #AAAEveryDay.