Ooooh, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here. I’ve re-evaluated some of the things that help keep me happy, engaged and balanced. Writing down some of my thoughts here really used to mean a lot to me and I’m hoping I can find that again. So here I go…
“’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”—J.R.R. Tolkein
I’m so tired of that word unprecedented. It is in every email I get from any company that I’ve ever given my email to in the past. It feels like it has become trite and overused… but it isn’t inaccurate. So I’m choosing a new narrative around how unprecedented it has been in 2020 for me in one very positive way. In a way I never saw coming, I never would have known to ask for and I’ve treasured greatly.
My household has undergone some unprecedented changes. I’m going to reframe it around all of the positive new-ness and completely wonderful-ness of the unexpected this year. I’m going to talk about how it has brought me up and forward and how I’ve chosen to embrace the positivity instead. In spite of all the negative and unexpected that 2020 has brought us all; amid the slowing, the pause, the uncertainty…. It has also brought the deepening of the connections that I have wanted, needed and the opportunity to thrive within my new life.
Gift of Self
In early 2020 I was given the gift of refocusing on and rebuilding my precious family and myself. In all the ways and places where there was damage, disappointment and heartache… I got to choose a better life. A more deliberate life. A new existence in every dimension from the physical space that I occupy within my home, my hobbies, and my wardrobe to the ways I communicate interpersonally and the relationships I prioritize and cultivate. I was given the chance to slow down and really spend time remembering who I am, who I love, what I need, what I think, how I feel and what that means. I was able to invest time in meaningful activities and people. I called friends on the phone and used FaceTime regularly to connect. I learned how to listen – both to my internal compass and from the people in my life. I learned how to set boundaries and communicate openly without reserve or hesitation. I made new connections and deepened some of the existing ones I treasure. I told the important people what they meant to me and I cut ties to the relationships that no longer served me. I learned how to listen to my body – from what I eat to how I move. I got to know myself again. It was like meeting an old friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. I enjoyed the process.
I read nine books and took some online classes on everything from negotiation to interior design. I learned how to make a Manhattan and say, “I miss your face” in French. It’s “ton visage me manque!” (I highly recommend the Mixology class on the Masterclass website and the French lessons on Duolingo.) I learned how to cross-stitch.
I began each day with a gratitude journal, mindful meditation and I ended each day with prayer. I bought a dress that wasn’t black! I sent over 75 cards to graduating seniors I had never met and friends across the country. I got back to the basics. And I realized that I really like who I am. I was reminded that time is a precious currency. The most precious I have. I now confidently decide how and with whom that time currency is spent. That’s a powerful realization. I’ll never take that for granted again.
“We were together. I forget the rest.”—Walt Whitman
Gift of Family
In 2020 I found myself working exclusively from home and from the hectic existence we previously shared I was now in the presence of my two daughters nearly 24/7. No soccer coaching demands and teaching online kept me close to home when I all too often in and out at lightning speed. While it forced us to readjust and adapt at first, it also created a new closeness. The kind of closeness that was incomprehensible before the hectic schedule prior to March 13th. We took the time to talk and listen without coming and going. The chance to connect meaningfully. To take a long, deep breath and get to know each other again as people not just the roles that we occupy like student, athlete, senior in high school… Without all the distractions and obligations we just got to be ourselves.
We took road trips like our familiar annual trip to Minnesota to visit my 99 year old grandfather. We had game and movie nights and took turns making dinners. We slowed down. We listened. We laughed. We ate a lot of Chipotle. We watched Hamilton on Disney+ more than once! We got to know each other better in new ways.
We celebrated a high school graduation and all of the accomplishments of my oldest… largely in private for a young woman who has invested so much of her last 12 years in her academics. We went for walks together. We learned how to celebrate the little things and truly take care of each other.
As we’re slowly transitioning into what can only be described as a new normal… this household isn’t losing sight of what we’ve learned and how much this has meant to us, challenged us and changed us. We don’t want to go all the way back to how things used to be. We are thankful for how new and emerging connections have renewed us. We won’t take for granted that this unprecedented upheaval has brought a lot of uncertainty and doubt out in the world but also brought perspective, growth and connection inside our home.
[Note to the reader: As I’ve said in my About Me section: “I’m not a writer – this blog is a more of a journal about the things I experience, the people I love and the lessons I’m learning along the way…” I’ve been very fortunate in my economic situation. I’ve been full-time working without interruption with a company that is considered essential infrastructure. Myself and my family have been blessed with zero health concerns as wekk. I’m not currently this platform or this blog post to tackle any of the political or social elements currently capturing the country’s attention. This post isolated on the unprecedented impact of a small but precious sliver of my life experienced inside this house in 2020.]