2020 will go down as one of the most extraordinary years we’ve ever experienced. Between Covid and politics, wildfires and hurricanes, I don’t know about you, but I’ll be kicking up my heels and celebrating as we say bye-bye on December 31st.
Along the way, I’ve learned some amazing life lessons I want to share with you. Perhaps you’ve experienced some of these as well. I’d love to hear the stories of the lessons you’ve learned during this bewildering year.
Like never before, I’m grateful for everything I have. Before 2020, I was always on the move so much and I just didn’t pause enough to appreciate all that I have in my life.
Since March, I’ve been forced to move and live at a slower pace, which has afforded me the time to take stock of, among other things, where we live. Larkspur is a very pedestrian-oriented town and a short drive to Mt. Tamalpais (pictured left) and the Pacific Ocean. We’ve even got redwood trees in our neighborhood and we’re a half-hour ride to Muir Woods.
I’m super grateful for the phenomenal people in my life, our beautiful family, and a lovely collection of dear, long term friends.
I’m appreciative of my husband Tim, my partner in Covid, who loves nothing better than shopping for groceries, and happens to be a fantastic cook. How I managed to draw this good fortune into my life, I’ll never know, but am I ever thankful.
Being present to take the time to count my blessings, I’m left with a tremendous feeling of contentment, which feels great.
Less is more has been a huge learning lesson for me. Once I got to that place of appreciating all I have and needing far less, I found I didn’t need to shop and consume as I used to. Shopping, especially at fun consignment shops, was a sideline hobby. Since Covid, I’ve been in very few stores and our biggest expense is nourishing food, good wine, and chocolate. Always chocolate! I’ve always appreciated the simple pleasure of a delicious meal, but there is something about it that’s even sweeter now.
Maybe I’m more of an introvert than I had realized, but I’ve enjoyed this simpler, less complicated way of life. I’ve found it easier to sleep at night and I’m more refreshed in the morning– despite the chaos around us.
I’m still convinced avoiding watching the news except to stay informed, practicing yoga, daily meditation, and being out in nature makes that all possible.
I’ve also come to realize how important my relationships are for my sanity. It’s become a necessity to stay in touch with people I love even if just to say hello.
About a month ago, my sisters and I started a Sunday Zoom call with several of my cousins and nieces from around the country, and it’s been a real hoot! With a never-ending supply of stories and recipes, we laughed a lot sharing memories from our large Italian-Irish families.
This morning it went on for two and a half hours! We reminisced about our parents, growing up on the southside of Chicago, resurrecting our home movies, and talked about all of our aches and pains. Too funny!
Speaking of laughter, this year more than ever, I have a huge appreciation for laughing, humor, and seeking joy. It’s become a priority to be with people who are uplifting, who see this challenge and find ways to accept what is, while looking towards the future. After all, it doesn’t help to want things to go back to how they were, that’s not going to happen.
Tim and I put an emphasis on watching funny movies and TV shows that tickle our funny bones, like Schitt’s Creek, for example. Or detective shows with interesting character development and void of violence or political backstories. (That’s when I say: BASTA!) We especially love mysteries done by the British. I highly recommend the Australian series, A Place to Call Home, and an engrossing French series, The French Village. Of all we watched this year and we’ve watched A LOT of shows, we would nominate them both as the Best of Binge-Watching in 2020.
As time has slowed down, I’ve been able to do some of the things I’ve been putting off, like adding new light fixtures in my office for those nighttime Zoom calls, re-organizing thousands of photographs (still in process!) and organizing our spice drawer alphabetically. I know that sounds a bit OCD, but I found duplicate jars of the same spice because we didn’t know we had them. Try it, you may like it!
Gardening is my salvation — especially during Covid. When people tell me they are bored or don’t have enough to do, I want to shout from the rooftops: “Get out into your garden!” It will reduce your stress and soothe your soul. I promise!
I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have my garden to ease my busy mind. I don’t think about the chaos that’s happening out there when I’m nurturing seeds into becoming new plant babies that will feed our bodies and nurture my soul.
At 72 years old, I’ve had asthma since I turned fifty. I don’t have attacks per se, but often I get breathless when I’m outside walking with a mask on –especially when there was smoke in the air.
The thought of getting Covid with its potential respiratory issues was enough to keep me from spending the time with friends who weren’t as susceptible and less rigid. That meant drawing a line in the sand and staying true to my known health issues. There were times it was hard to keep those boundaries with really good friends, but it came down to taking care of myself and those around me.
As a result, my focus on self-care became not only doable but a priority. This year, I found the time to take better care of myself, and as simple as looking in the mirror and saying “I love you.” is a huge shift from being constantly on the go, feeling scattered, and never having enough of what I needed, including the time and space to truly take care of myself.
Now I have a bit more time to do the things I love, like planning my garden and thinking about how I can help others in 2021.
And that brings me to you and this community that continues to grow and exceed what I’d imagined in developing an online business. Your comments and feedback have kept me afloat during these turbulent times of uncertainty. I appreciate YOU and your love and support over these last few years. Thank you for believing in me and the work I bring to the world. It’s a joy to share it with you.
As we say BYE-BYE to 2020 with exasperation and relief, I’m eager to welcome in a new year of possibility, opportunities, and ways to come together and support each other that are being born out of the challenges we’ve faced and overcome this past year.
May you too find the silver linings from this stormy and difficult year — and appreciate the goodness of the holiday season like you never have before.