Kristen’s Corner: Blessed not Stressed


Well guys, we finally made it to the end of 2020. What a year.

I’ve been thumbing through a few “Year in Reviews” this week (because I’m not the only journalist filling the paper with rehash this week), and it’s hard not to notice the same descriptors being used for this year: hard, difficult, trying, tragic, tumultuous….

They all have negative connotations. And with good reason. I certainly wouldn’t categorize this year as a picnic.

But as I reflect on my 2020, no matter how I look at it, I keep coming up with the same descriptor: blessed.

Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t living in The Upside Down of 2020. I was right here with you, waking up every day to a new horror, spending many days wondering when it would all go away.

I lost my job—twice actually. Once in April shortly after the initial shutdown, then again in September right after the Supersized unemployment benefits ended.

I had to endure some very scary life-threatening non-COVID health issues with limited access to healthcare providers.

For the first time in my 21years of living on my own, I didn’t have money for rent. I had to put a move on a credit card, ask a relative for a place to stay, and hope I could find a job in a wrecked economy.

My parents lost their business.

I applied for and had multiple interviews for a job I really wanted. I didn’t get it.

Looking at that list, I had a pretty crappy year. Where’s the blessing in that?

The blessing wasn’t getting an Instagramable perfect life with no problems. It was not getting stuck in those bad moments. It was having the courage to move forward, to respond.

When I lost my job in April, I could have cried and freaked out (ok, honestly, I totally did the first week). But instead, I took the time to focus on my health. I rested, changed my diet, and like everyone else started doing Yoga with Adrian. Blessed.

I also had one of those gut-check moments and realized in order for me to feel fulfilled, I needed to get back to journalism full time. Two weeks after I was laid off, I was called back to work but moved out of the field to a desk job. I started taking students as a writing coach on the side, and I felt alive for the first time in years. Blessed.

I could have gotten stuck in the sadness of helping my parents close their business. At 65 there is no starting over for them in a few years. That was their retirement.

Instead, I helped them pack, mourned the loss, and saw the sign that it was time for me to get back to Texas too. Blessed.

I began applying for journalism jobs in Texas and found an editing position with a growing publication in Austin. I nailed the tests, the phone interview, and the first video interview. I got to the second to last interview and flopped.

I was running out of money and time and it was the worst possible time to fail. How could the world be so unfair? Can’t you see I need this right now?
I had another gut-check moment, staring myself down in the mirror. Do you really want this? I yelled back at my reflection, “YES!”

I woke up the next morning and found a posting for the job I now hold. I applied, flew in for an interview, and here I am. With a job. Close to all my family. Doing what I believe I was born to do. Blessed.

I’m not stupid enough to tempt fate and say to 2021, “Bring it on!”

But as the ball comes down this New Year’s Eve, I am going to throw my hands up and celebrate. Not because I’m living a problem-free life. But because I made it. And for that, I’m truly blessed.


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