Three weeks into 2021 and I’m still processing 2020, how about you? The year seemed to crawl by while simultaneously it was one big blur of pregnancy, pandemic and politics. I gotta say, I’m not usually a “start fresh” kind of person with the New Year, but I am grateful to be starting a new one.
What adjectives would you use to describe last year? Tumultuous? Devastating? Crushing? If you HAD to come up with a list of positive adjectives, what would you add to that list? Enlightening? Grounding? Focusing?
Being thankful for 2020. Phew. Sometimes it seems ‘thankful’ and 2020 should not be in the same sentence. Regardless of your views, it feels safe to say, 2020 was a tough year on all of us. I think moving forward anytime something really stinks I’m going to refer to it as, “so 2020”. That being said, I still find myself forever grateful for last year.
Last year brought us our son, expanding us to a family of four. We are hoping 2021 will bring us our new home and many other areas of growth. With so many big changes last year and more expected this year, I felt the urge to dive deep into this past year. To really focus and praise God for the lessons and gifts 2020 has brought me to keep me grounded. I often pray that God will, “make lessons really obvious” to me, as I tend to go on autopilot I blow right past any “signs”.
What can we take with us from last year to make us more present and ensure we thrive this year? It’s safe to say 2021, seems to be off to a rocky start. So it is on us – you, me, everyone to buckle down and take advantage of every day we are given. All that to say, I’d like to share some of the things I am thankful for because of the craziness of 2020. Some of the things I now look at with gratefulness and hope.
I think the biggest blessing I had from 2020 (other than the birth of my son) was being able to spend 10 weeks with my daughter unimpeded by work tasks. Please know my heart. I recognize how insanely blessed I was to qualify for unemployment during the time I was furloughed. To not have to wonder if I could put food on the table or pay bills.
Having this time with her where I was only wearing my “mom” hat and not also wearing the “behavior analyst” hat allowed me to solidify a decision my husband and I have thrown back and forth over the past few years. I always wondered if being a stay at home mom is what I really want. Could I give up the last decade I’ve spent building my career, not to mention the time spent in school to earn my degrees? Sure can! It is certainly not for everyone, but I feel in my heart I am meant to stay home and nourish these two souls I have been blessed with.
Our big goal for me to stay at home involves us paying off our student loans early, Dave Ramsey style. As an aside, if you are not familiar, please look him up and start taking charge of your debt and finances! This pandemic has lit the fire under me to get it done! When my husband and I finally took the time to break down our monthly expenses, SO much of our paychecks are going to debt. Make no mistake, I am of the mind that I took out my student loans knowing full well they are my responsibility to pay back and have no problem honoring that contract.
This year has encouraged us to reevaluate our priorities in other ways too. A pandemic has a great way of making you look at your current circumstances and ask yourself if there are ways you can be more self sufficient. Last year was the first year I have ever gardened in my life and I am hooked! I’m almost as proud of the tomatoes and cucumbers I grew as I am the baby I grew! There is something so satisfying about being able to get your hands dirty. It was such a wonderful learning opportunity for my daughter as well. Being able to go outside and cut herbs for your meals or pull lettuce for a salad. I even tried my hand at pickling. I look forward to going bigger and better every year with this. Each year we would like to find ways to become more self sustaining. Chickens and goats are in our 5 year plan, stay tuned!
These lessons I have shared with you are of course very specific to me. We are all individuals with unique circumstances! My hope though, is that we ALL can take some time to reflect on lessons we can carry into this year. Here are a few things, I hope you will continue to appreciate as things slowly return to “normal”.
Never take being able to hug your loved ones tight for granted. Let’s prioritize dinner nights with friends and crowded church pews. Let’s never take for granted again birthday gatherings, laughing with our friends, being with loved ones at the end. Life itself. May we never, ever take it for granted again.
Share with me the biggest blessing and lesson you learned in 2020!
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Albus Dumbledoore