The lessons 2020 taught me

There’s a quote I love that says “Everything happens FOR me, not TO me”. 

If we use that lens to reflect back on the year, then there is certainly quite a bit that happened “for” me this year, and for all of us.

We all spoke so much about “silver linings” this year, the things that happened “for us”.  The biggest for me being CLARITY.  Clarity about what’s important.  Clarity about what I want.  Where my time is being spent, where my energy is going.

And unlike years past, this year didn’t just provide an opportunity for, but rather forced me, and many of us, to slow down and evaluate all of these.  To take stock of our priorities. 

With so much of my time and energy going into the kids, our home, JP, and even into just taking care of me – there wasn’t much left to go around.  In many ways, all of my resources felt limited this year.  There was only so much energy and time to go around.  And it became very clear, very quickly, what was important to me.  And even more importantly, what wasn’t.  If it wasn’t a “hell yes”, it became a “hell no”, very quickly.

Last year at this time I wrote a blog post about what 2019 taught me, and my goals for 2020.  And as unprecedented and challenging as this year was, it’s crazy to think that so much of what I wrote last year still holds true.   So many of the goals I wrote about, happened. Maybe not in the way I had pictured, but they happened.

And it got me thinking about this year. What this unique year has taught me.  Maybe not all of this year was filled with good, but there are gifts 2020 gave me.  So many things that happened “for me” that I’m taking into this new year.

Here are the lessons 2020 taught me…

Say “YES”

To the big and little things. This was the year of “yes”.  Seeing what’s possible.  And taking a leap of faith…even when I was terrified. 

And to be clear, I was a lot of of this year.   Taking my first ever solo trip.   Choosing to have our kids “home” for the past 10 months.  Choosing to make our life more complicated by e-learning on the road.  A lot of our “choices” weren’t always easy, clear answers for me.

But this year I made a vow to myself to NOT let my anxiety, or worry, take the lead on decision making. While I can’t control my mind and how it races at times, I certainly can stop myself from making decisions based in fear.  I refuse to let my anxiety or worry rob me of any more joy.  Not this year. 

And then go with the flow

I’ve always thrived on routine, structure, predictability.  But this year has been anything but.  Between having six people home and ALWAYS around 24/7 the past 10 months, e-learning, taking a two-month road trip – nothing about this year was predictable.

But surprisingly, because EVERYTHING in our life seemed so “different” this year, it felt for the first time, almost ok to just let it all go and go with the flow.  However the day went, it went.  It was out of my control.  And I took comfort in that.  For the first time, I gave myself permission to truly let it all go and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

Voice my opinion when it matters to me…

Although I share a lot of my world here, truth be told, there were a lot of things I never really felt comfortable discussing on here.  Espeically when it came to anything controversial. 

This year challenged that for me.  There were many things that happened this year I spoke up about, our shared an opinion on. From my thoughts on racial injustices and Black Lives Matter to my political views.  I stopped keeping quiet on things I felt were important.  Things that really mattered to me.  Knowing I don’t have to keep quiet anymore in order to make others comfortable.  It’s ok to be honest and it’s ok to be transparent.

And not look to others for approval

For as long as I can remember, I looked outward for validation.  Always feeling the need to explain myself.  Needing to justify certain choices.  Needing other people to validate, agree or somehow approve.  I looked for other people’s approval to know if I was “good”.  If I was enough.  

But at almost 42, whether it’s the combination of age, experiences, or just simply the mess of this year; I don’t need it anymore.  And it feels incredibly liberating.  

See the good

There were many moments this year when things felt hard.  When it felt as if everything was going wrong…and it was in those moments that I had to CHOOSE to see the good.  It was a conscious effort to choose joy – it didn’t always just come naturally.  

There will always be bad days or tough months.  Rough patches. That’s never going to change.  But along the way, there can still be moments of JOY.  Sometimes you just have to look a little harder.  But they’re always there.

This year was a wonderful practice for me in looking for the good, every day.  Especially in the little things.  Walks.  Fresh sourdough.  Sleepovers.  Quiet mornings when the house is asleep.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.  Hot baths.  JP unloading the dishwasher.  No matter how “hard” the day was….there was still good.  

 

I’m sure there are more “lessons” from the year, but for now, those were the ones that really stood out for me.  As we enter into this new year, I’m feeling a little lighter, more content.  A lot of things were left behind and shed this year, and I truly think it’s a blessing.

But I can also say that at the start of this year, I feel a little uncertain as to where I’m going.  Where this blog is going.  Where our family is going.  And oddly enough…I’m totally ok with it.  For the first time, in a long time, I don’t have any answers or insight and it’s ok.  

I’m going into this year with zero expectations and ready for whatever the world has to offer.  

Happy New Year, my sweet friends.  Thanks for being here another YEAR!!  This little blog was an incredible source of community, support and friendship this year.  And I’m so grateful.  

As we journey into this year, I’m wishing us ALL wide eyes, open hearts, and an abundance of JOY.

Sending love and grace to you all. 

 

Some of my favorite moments for 2020 in no particular order

Boating in Ohio with my parents

Taking Sloan to see the dinosaurs for his birthday

Taking the kids to their first protest and talking to them about social injustices

Attending Alt Summit in Palm Springs

Our nightly 5 o’clock walks when we begged Asher to babysit the kids so we could walk around the block in silence.

Golfing with my guy

Giving Frank’s room a makeover

Our daily family walks (and the cheers and TEARS that came along too)

Getting up on one ski for the first time in almost a decade (had to prove to the kids that mom could do something athletic)

Giving our landscaping a fresh makeover by these three guys

pulling out of our drive, so nervous and so excited, heading west sitting next to my favorite travel buddy

Frankie and the hot springs.  

Daily sunset swims

beach walks with this one

watching these four boogie board

Enjoying the sun and the new grass in our front yard

nightly snuggles and story time

Seeing delicate arch

Getting a taste of CO

Lazy days at home with my favorite people in the world. 

 

 

 

 

 

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