Do Roses Have Thorns Or Thorns Have Roses?

Looking back at the best of 2020

Photo by Michael McAuliffe on Unsplash

We all know the worst of 2020. We’ve lived it. We’re still in it. And we’ll have a hard time leaving it all behind.

But if we follow Alphonse Karr’s wise words, a shift of perspective can push our world forward. We need it badly.

So, Karr, the famous French critic, journalist, and novelist, once said that we could complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns have roses.

In 2020 I lived in fear…

I lost a grandparent at the beginning of the year. And I’m watching another one fading away as I write these lines.

We’ve had to close the business our family relied on and reinvent ourselves, shift our focus, redefine our priorities as a family.

I went from being a stay-at-home mom to a work-from-home mom, with a toddler determined to prevent me from doing any work.

I got to witness cancer spreading in a loved one’s body and face the horrific reality of barely getting medical help because of, well, the pandemic.

I’ve lived a lockdown that impacted my little boy in ways I will probably never fully be able to tell.


But at the end of this unforgettable year, I chose the thorns with roses.

For once, I chose to see the bright side of all things. I need to see it to understand better what is happening and what I can learn from it.

If 2020 taught me anything useful, it is that…

  1. Death is the only thing we cannot fix. Everything else is manageable, and people are more important than the mistakes they make.
  2. I don’t have much control over my life. Yet, I am more aware of the things I can control and those I can’t. I am now more responsible for the things I can control. I give fewer fucks on everything else.
  3. I can handle even situations I have never lived before. I can do good and be good with much less than I used to think I needed.
  4. I can keep my anxiety under control. Even when my heart feels like dancing on my eardrums and my chest is too small for the air it needs to fill with.
  5. Gratitude does save the day. When the numbers look bad, finding one small thing to be grateful for is not that hard. On the contrary.

As good old pastor Sidlow Baxter used to say, the only difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.

2020 reminded us all about the things that truly matter and the things we can control. It also showed us that no matter what life throws at us, the solution is in the way we look at it. As a difficulty, or an opportunity.

In 2021, I am not going to complain that roses have thorns. I’ll rejoice that thorns have roses.

What about you? What’s the one thing you keep telling yourself when you wake up in the morning?

Mother, writer, thinker. Striving to be the change I want to see in the world.

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