Finding Gratitude in the Year 2020

A global pandemic changed our daily lives in the year 2020, but we still have a lot to be grateful for.

Gratitude in the year 2020 with gratitude

It’s easy to lose sight of gratitude in the year 2020. In the beginning, it started out hopeful; many of us full of gratitude for all we had accomplished and experienced in 2019. Then, we dreamed, we set goals, and we worked out a plan to reach new heights in the year 2020.

VISION. This seemed to be the new word of the year in 2020. This concept enamored me. I saw the word VISION more and more on social media platforms, and it became my go-to word as well. My VISION seemed so clear. I was grateful to be healthy; grateful to have a book; grateful to have a tool to help others.

I finished my first book, a memoir, How Cancer Cured My Broken Soul. I defeated cancer in 2018 and have been in good health ever since. This book was a product of my nine month battle with cancer. I was grateful to have the book completed to use as a tool to help others in a similar situation. The book was set to launch in early 2020, but as a global pandemic spread, things changed. I struggled to find gratitude in the year 2020, I lost sight of the good.

Finding Gratitude: Book Launch & Becoming a Mentor

My goal, my VISION, was to launch a book; a book about my breast cancer journey and to become a mentor for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. I did those things and for that I was grateful to see a goal come to fruition. But the accomplishment was radically different than I expected.

While I launched my book on Amazon in April, I didn’t plan a big, fancy book launch party; no cocktails, no book signings, no book tour. Disappointment crept in and slowly replaced the word of the year, but I wanted to make the best of it, to find gratitude in a world turned upside down. I asked myself, why did I launch a book in the middle of a pandemic?

The answer was always the same, to help others. To help the newly diagnosed patients that crossed my path, because they had a more difficult journey. A cancer journey is difficult, but these patients were alone at appointments and during different procedures. Stuck with weakened immune systems hoping covid-19 would not harm them.

I continued to push forward. In 2020, I became a Pink Ribbon Mentor at Mayo Clinic and Join the Journey in Rochester, Minnesota. Then, I went through a training session with The Firefly Sisterhood, a non-profit organization in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to become a Guide for newly diagnosed patients. Again, this process was very different. Most all of my trainings and meetings were via Zoom. I was left yearning for face to face meetings, something more personal.

Finding Gratitude: Journaling Workshops

My next goal was to host journaling workshops. Because I have journaled for decades and read many books on journaling, I felt I had enough experience to support newbie journalers. Heck, I wrote my book based on the writings in my journal. However, I wanted to attend a workshop in Leading Others in Writing to Heal, specifically for those who suffered traumas. I paid for the course at Duke Integrative Medicine, booked a flight, and reserved an AirBnB. Like most events in 2020, it was cancelled. Thankfully, my money returned.

With so many things cancelled and the inability to host live workshops, I didn’t know how to help others with the journaling process. Thankfully, PIVOT was the new word that spread across social media platforms midway through the year. So, I pitched the idea of a Zoom Journaling Workshop to another Pink Ribbon Mentor, and I shared my knowledge on a Zoom call one evening with breast cancer patients. While I brought a lot of knowledge to the workshop, I hoped for an opportunity to practice more and offer more workshops.

I also created a guided journal, Your Journey Begins Here (YJBH) to sell on Amazon alongside my book, How Cancer Cured My Broken Soul. Additionally, I created a private Facebook journaling group, Your Journey Begins Here and started blogging about journaling.

Gratitude in 2020: How Cancer Cured My Broken Soul
Your Journey Begins Here Journal cover

Finding Gratitude in 2020

As I reflect on this past year, occasionally I find disappointment lurking around in my thoughts. However, I dig deep to find gratitude for each day, each new journey, and each new challenge. Finding and practicing gratitude in 2020 helped me find the good in all of my efforts this year. Today, I am grateful to be alive, to be healthy, and to be able to welcome a new year.

If you find yourself frustrated, angry, and defeated, remember we did the best we could with what was given to us. Let’s try to PIVOT once again and find hope in these dark times; find gratitude. I hope all of you continue to dream and plan for new beginnings in a world that suffered much tragedy over the last year.

Happy Journaling


Nicole L. Czarnomski (zar-NOM-ski) is a marketing director by day and freelance writer by night. Her magazine bylines range from wheatgrass to whiskey to pet sitters. She usually writes with one or two cats on her lap and a hot cup of black coffee by her side. She is the author of the memoir “How Cancer Cured My Broken Soul,” the product of her nine-month battle with Stage 3 breast cancer. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading a memoir or psychological thriller or anything by Kristin Hannah. If there isn’t a book in her hand, she is bingeing on Netflix or painting, art journaling, singing karaoke (only at home) or woodworking with her husband.

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