How 2020 Made Me a Better Person

I know what you’re thinking. What in the world is she talking about? This was the CRAZIEST year ever! But hear me out. I am a big believer in growth mindset. Most of our gifts and talents are cultivated, and thus we can be continuously learning, developing and growing as an individual. With all the challenges I have faced in 2020, I believe this year, above all others, has made me a better person in many ways.

A Better Healthcare Provider

How 2020 Made Me a Better Person

When the COVID-19 pandemic flared up in March, healthcare professionals started on a journey that most of us have never navigated in our lifetime. We were dealing with a disease that was NEW and DIFFERENT, and those words are scary in the medical community. We rely on evidence-based research, data and facts, and sometimes anecdotes, in order to perform our jobs. Suddenly, we didn’t have any of that! We had to treat an illness with information that was changing EVERY DAY. 

But you know what that does to a person? It makes you more flexible. More adaptive. More innovative. I am by nature not a changeable person; I am a Type 1 Enneagram and a Taurus, so I like my comfort and I like my plans. I had to scrap all that pretty quickly! When my clinic shut down to in-person visits and went all virtual, I learned how to be more engaging with my patients. It’s interesting when all you have is a video screen to diagnose someone with abdominal pain. You can’t listen to their belly, you can’t feel around on their organs, you can’t get labs or imaging… nothing. I found myself asking more questions and really listening to my patients. Without a physical exam, a narrative history was crucial. 

When we reopened to in-person visits, we also continued with virtual visits as well. I really missed seeing patients in the flesh, and I gained a new appreciation for it. I also learned how to better manage my time, as suddenly we were so busy again. 

And the ongoing influx of new data was just astounding. My husband was working in local emergency rooms seeing these patients firsthand every day he went to work. He was my tuning fork to what was happening in the Houston area. I had stopped watching the news {thanks anxiety}, but I had joined several Facebook groups of medical providers, one of which had almost 200,000 members at one point from all over the world. What would we have done without social media?! You had REAL TIME, TRUTHFUL information from providers treating these patients:: what everyone was trying, what was working or not working, how to stop the spread, etc.  I had to be on top of the latest recommendations as soon as they came out because they were changing so much. It made me sharper, more focused and aware of my local medical community.

While I hope to never again live through a situation like this, I am so grateful to have experienced it the way I did. It made me a an overall better person and healthcare provider.

A Better Wife and Mother

How 2020 Made Me a Better Person

I am definitely one of the luckier ones that didn’t have to quit her job and homeschool her children. I know so many women out there were put in that situation:: choosing between your job or the well being of your family. Our daycare stayed open for essential workers, and our two small girls never left. I will ever be eternally grateful!

But even though our lives remained somewhat normal, with our girls going to school and my husband and I working, everything else shut down. No activities. No traveling. No eating out. No visiting friends or family. When home, we were shut in with just ourselves. I thought at times I would go crazy, and I quickly realized I was developing anxiety. And you know what? I got help. I started medication, and found more ways to manage my stress {hello, gardening!}. Whereas before I might have toughed it out, I knew this time would have to be different.

I learned to lean on my husband more, which made me more appreciative towards him. And this grew my love for him. I also learned to let things go. I learned that I couldn’t be in control of everything anymore, and that was an excruciatingly tough lesson. But it was one that I needed.

My girls weathered everything beautifully, even though this year we have been dealt some tough blows with their health. I learned how to be more patient, more generous and more enjoyable to be around. My love for them has never been stronger, and I am so proud of all they have accomplished. I know 2020 has for sure made me a better wife and mother to my family.

A Better Person

Wow, where to start with all the major world events of 2020, and not just the pandemic. The massive wildfires in Australia and California, the death of Kobe Bryant, the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, the Presidential election, and so many more. It is just incredible! All this loss and strife made me realize how truly blessed and fortunate I am, but also how much work I need to do on myself. 

I think the Black Lives Matter movement hit me the hardest. I grew up in a racist white family in the south, and that has been truly hard to escape my whole life. When you grow up hearing racial slurs and seeing racist actions in your own home, it skews your thinking even into adulthood. While I truly love the human race and everyone in it, I have had to take a hard look at my words and actions and deeds and realize there is definitely room for improvement. And I hope I can continue that improvement up until my dying day, becoming a better person, and to teach my children to be better humans that I have been. I want myself and my girls to spread compassion, trust, truth and love into the world!

It’s an interesting thing to look back at Dani at the beginning of 2020 and now. How much I have grown! And I will continue to grow, onward into 2021 and into a better version of myself.

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Dani has spent the vast majority of her life in the greater Houston area, and there’s no place else she’d rather be! She loves all things Houston, from the culture, to the sports, to the FOOD {ohhhh, Tex-Mex}. After many years attending Texas A&M University {twice!} and the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, she worked in the healthcare field for over a decade as a critical care nurse and then a family nurse practitioner. In 2021, she left her medical career in order to care for her youngest daughter at home who has epilepsy. Dani is wife to her best friend Stu, and mom to two little spitfires, Emilia {2017} and Caroline {2019}. When she is not caring for her family, Dani is an avid gardener and now has her own business, Summer Skye Gardens, which provides garden coaching, consultations, design and more. You can follow her gardening journey and love of all things nature-related via her Instagram @summerskyegardens and her website


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