A Grief-Letter to 2020

Juli's Letter to 2020

This idea to write a letter to 2020 comes from Catherine Andrews, creator of the Sunday Soother - a wonderful resource for self-care and self-reflection.

Catherine is a life coach and suggests to use the act of writing a letter to "process growth, heal grievances, release what needs to be let go, and allow [ourselves] to speak into the world things [we] may have been holding on to out of fear."

While therapeutic letter writing usually serves to help us heal and process relationships, Catherine Suggests we can have relationships just as well with a year or an era, as we have them with people.

2020 was definitely one of my most challenging years and Catherine's idea to process it through a traditional letter is lovely and spoke to me instantly. On her page and Instagram, she prepared several prompts to help formulate the letter. I started mine based on these prompts and allowed the process to take me further.

I originally planned to publish the letter here but it became too personal so instead, I'll tell you a little about the process.

The prompts Catherine gives seem simple and not overly soul-searchy. Nevertheless, while I answered some quickly, I spent a lot of time on others:

The venting was easy. It was easy to answer I'm so angry that you... and I wish to forgive you for...

Most things on the positive side of things, however, felt difficult. It took me a little to extrapolate what I learned from 2020 and even more what I may miss about it.

The more satisfying it was to have the answer written down in the end and realize there actually were good things about this year and lots of things I learned, even if it was the hard way.

I even figured, when I put the pandemic and my cabin fever aside and focus on my achievements instead, 2020 was one of my best years:

I live in the city I love with the person I love, surrounded by friends. I got to know other writers and am part of two wonderful writing groups. My income is partly passive and I can focus on my writing without worrying about money. In fact, This was the year I earned the most money. I launched my newsletter and am building a great community around it.

Overall, therapeutic letter writing is a wonderful ritual and this exercise came at the right time. I felt frustrated and bereft in the past days. It helped me put things back into perspective, detach 2020 from the pandemic and see it for what it is: a multifaceted year that came as a bumpy ride but personally, also brought a lot of joy and progress.

Here are further prompts I added to Catherine's suggestions:

  • Pandemic aside, you were...
  • In spite of everything, you helped me achieve...
  • If I could relive one day of you, it would be...
  • How I would describe our relationship in 3 words is...
  • What you changed about me is...

To receive more essays and suggestions to help deal with difficult feelings (and years!) sign up to The Self-Letter! It’s my weekly newsletter to help you learn more about yourself and cultivate self-awareness.✨