” When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge — every adversity — contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth. ” Roy T. Bennett

To say the least, 2020 was shaking in its abnormality, forcing us to live differently from what we were used to. And for me, it could be resumed by trying to find meaning and balance in instability. There were lows but also a good number of highs and little achievements. Overall I feel like 2020 was a step forward in knowing myself better: I grew in some ways but also uncovered some of my vulnerabilities. I guess spending a lot of time with yourself will do that to you.

Hiking in Senja (Norway) in the summer. © 2020, Justine Le Cam.

I finished the year feeling anxious and stressed at every little things happening. It’s not something that was obvious to me at first, but now I’m learning the recognize my anxiety patterns. And 2020 was definitely anxiety inducing. It’s the year where the importance of individual responsibilities versus freedom was really brought to light to me. It was an anxiety ride of “Is this the right thing to do right now or am I being selfish?” like never experienced before.

The best way I found to manage my anxieties and that helped me go through 2020 was understanding the healing power that moving my body outside is having on my mind. This year I started to have a real sports routine: all this home office time, and 6 months of Fridays off, gave me the opportunity to run, cycle and mountain bike on a regular basis during the week. I explored extensively the trails in my “backyard” and felt a much deeper connection to the hill, forest and river that lie 5 minutes away from my front door. Most importantly, I realized that moving outside could put me in a meditative state of mind and allow things to fall back into place.

Ski tour in May. © 2020, Nevin McCallum.
On a ski tour in December. © 2020, Nevin McCallum.

2020 is filled with a lot of fond memories of time spent outside. From starting the year skiing in British Columbia, to hiking in Norway, ski touring, backpacking and mountaineering in the Alps and biketouring in Switzerland. So above all, what I feel at the end of this year is gratitude. For getting to know myself a bit better in front of change and hardship. For discovering and getting the hang of such a powerful way of dealing with anxieties. For the time I was able to spend outside and for such an extensive playground so close to home. Hopefully 2021 brings along a bit more of “normality” and easiness in engaging in social activities and travelling. I wish to keep that momentum of spending so much time outside. And obviously to have some adventures along the way.

Mountain biking close to home. © 2020, Nevin McCallum.