It has been 7 months since I last sat down to write. I had to sit here for a moment and count the months on my fingers just to be sure. It’s hard to believe that that much time has passed and yet as I pause to think back on all that has happened since May 2020, I just smile.
2020 started out with the hope every new year brings. A new beginning and fresh start. By late January there were rumblings of the Coronavirus spreading in China and by mid-February work meetings had shifted to discussing the possible impacts should the virus continue to spread. On March 12th I packed up most of my office and headed to work from home for a couple weeks. March turned into April, which turned into June, and before we knew it, we were working from home for the entire Fall semester.
I left you in May with a set of goals. I was eager to lose some weight, to make the most of my time at home, and to chart out a new normal. At this point it takes going through my camera roll to remember what happened when, but these past 7 months have honestly been a true blessing. This year, whether I knew I needed it or not, was the great pause. It was the emergency break to a life I was worn out living.
For those that have followed Balancing Today over the years and have read along, you know that I’m a planner, a fixer, and a perfectionist. Hello enneagram 1w2. I thrive professionally in these qualities, but in my personal life I was incredibly worn out. I’m sure I can go back and read blog posts from these past 6 years and find posts that speak to this. 2020 has given me what I didn’t know I needed and that was a big ass halt to the grind that was killing me.
These past 7 months, well 9 months really, have been the most freeing months I’ve lived in the past 10 years. Working from home, not commuting 3 hours a day, spending quality time with my husband, talking to my sister about things other than work, stress, and depression, and being fully present with my kids are just some of the highlights.
Some of the other blessings from this second half of 2020 have included…
- Focusing on what REALLY matters to me – caring for my family, investing in my environment, and prioritizing my own wellness
- Losing 30 pounds
- Supporting my daughter as she started Kindergarten virtually
- Hiking (a lot) with my kids, sister, and husband
- Having the time to talk to my mom and dad regularly (I miss them!)
- Renting tiny homes in Maryland and Virginia for quick getaways
- Having the time to really clean out our house and give away things we don’t need or use (Look up the Buy Nothing Project)
- Renovating our home and building a screened in porch
- Working out regularly including almost nightly walks with my sister
- Celebrating my 36th birthday
Now don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been constant rainbows and butterflies this year. I miss my parents and brothers more than anything and pray daily for this pandemic to come to an end. Up to this point we have been spared from the loss, pain, and evil this year has brought with it. I know that my family is privileged and that we do not face the prejudice, discrimination, and hatred that so many in our country face day in and day out. I have much to learn and so much to do to dismantle white supremacy in my every day life. What I am thankful for is the exposure. For the lessons, eye opening moments, and constant gut checks. This year has made me stop, time and time again, and has forced me to change and be better.
I am overjoyed for the month ahead. I love Christmas and the weeks leading up to it. I love the time with my children and family. I love seeing the semester come to an end and work slowly come to a halt before the winter break. I love the time between Christmas and the new year. Although I suspect 2021 will start much like 2020 ended, I am thankful for this time to reflect on the past year and to dream about the year ahead. I don’t ever want to take this year for granted and I hope I can carry much of what has changed with me as we move into the upcoming year, even as this pandemic comes to an end and we “return to normal”. What ever that means.
I hope each of you are well as you read this. I pray you stay healthy and that you will find moments of joy in the days ahead.