2020, where do I even begin? Safe to say, none of us knew that 2020 would end up playing out the way that it did. It has definitely been a year for the history books, that’s for sure, and a year that many of us are so ready to leave behind. But was it all completely horrible? No! I’m very thankful for the good things that came out of this year and ready to dive into it a little more with you all today. So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, curl up on the couch and get cozy, and let’s dive into it! I wanted to mention here ahead of time that this post will be quite a bit longer than usual, but 2020 has definitely left me with some words and thoughts.
Walking into 2020, my boyfriend and I had such high hopes for the year as we moved in together to our first apartment at the beginning of January. I had just gotten a new job in November of 2019, and Josh had just gotten a new job after graduating in December of 2019. We felt so ready to take on the world of adulting! Little did we know not two months later, the world would completely flip upside down.
At the beginning of all the madness that would soon turn into our current reality, I definitely felt myself going through stages of grief, and I didn’t even know it at the time. But looking back on March and April of this year, I remember going through the first two stages, denial and anger. I had been working full-time for almost a year at this point with no PTO days or vacations used and was so ready for a vacation in 2020. As we had moved into an apartment, we definitely had to be more smart about our money and spending habits and had originally planned to take a vacation and travel somewhere in the summer (which, obviously, did not happen) and then when the pandemic hit, we knew we wouldn’t be going anywhere for quite some time. At first, I was so angry and I just felt stuck in WA. Josh and I may be homebodies, but we also love to travel and see the world, and knowing that our travel plans were non-existent for the year had me very upset.
But as soon as I felt this anger over not being able to travel and feeling stuck in WA, I soon realized, “is this really the worst thing that could happen right now given everything happening in the world?” And this changed my perspective completely, and is when I entered the bargaining stage of grief.
To cope, I bought my first gratitude journal and started journaling every single morning and night. After a couple weeks on this routine, I easily found so many little things to be grateful for in my day-to-day life at home. Things like being fortunate enough to live in a nice apartment and still have my job given the economic troubles of this year and being able to work from the comfort of my own home, having Josh and our dog, Charlotte, by my side, the fact that we were healthy, etc. These are things that I am grateful for every single day and I realized, it’s ok if I don’t get a vacation this year, that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to ever again. We knew staying home was the best thing and the right thing to do to keep ourselves safe and healthy in 2020.
Of course, as the months went by, I often felt sadness and had some tears. Reading the news every day and hearing such horrible tragedies kept me feeling anxious and worried, not knowing what the future was going to look like. Adapting to this new lifestyle has its challenging moments, even as much as we love staying home, there was just always something to worry about. Did I get too close to someone at the grocery store? Did I touch a surface and forget to wash my hands after? Will my family and their health be okay this year? This worrying would often keep me up at night and significantly decrease my quality of sleep.
Self-care became my new best friend. Going for daily walks, taking bubble baths and listening to calming music, reading books, upping my skincare routine, unfollowing people on social media that no longer brought me joy or that brought me negative energy or had me stuck in the comparison game, and of course, retail therapy, I just always felt happier knowing I had an online order coming in the mail.
I don’t think I achieved the acceptance stage of grief until about September. I’m a very organized person who loves to plan, and having my plans for the near future (the next 2-5 years) altered was definitely an adjustment. But after all that 2020 threw at us, I had finally accepted it and was content with myself again. I accepted the fact we wouldn’t be able to travel for a while, that I was stuck (but safe) in WA, that I was grateful enough to have an apartment to live in, a stable job, the people in my life and my family. There is so much to be grateful for and I was so relieved to finally achieve that final stage of grief. While thinking about the future right now stresses me out and gives me anxiety, taking it one day at a time and remaining grateful for what I have in my life has made all the difference.
I came across this image on Instagram the other day and felt it on so many levels that I just had to share it here. It’s from @spiritdaughter and says: 2020 wasn’t about how much you did or didn’t do. It wasn’t about how many trips you took or how many bucket list items were checked off. 2020 was about finding joy in the simple things. Laughter with a few close friends. Connecting with family near and far. Opening your heart, and being present in every moment because moments are too precious to waste. 2020 was about being grateful for what you have – knowing that is, and always was, enough.
So, what good came out of 2020 for me? Quite a few!
First, I was able to transfer to the work from home life, which I love. Being a homebody, I love staying home and could not stand commuting to work, wearing uncomfortable work clothes every single day, going to an office. I had everything I needed right at home and definitely prefer that type of work style.
Second, I achieved two resolutions for my blogging business that I had set for myself – reaching 10k followers on Instagram, and re-launching my YouTube channel. Not to mention, having the most success with brand partnerships this year than I have before that provided me with a nice side income.
Third, I was more motivated than ever to stay on a consistent workout routine and did everything I could to better my health and live a more healthy lifestyle. Cooking healthier meals at home, working out consistently, drinking water every single day, getting out for daily walks, going on runs, going on hikes, etc.
Fourth, the gift of time! I had so much more time to read more books, catch up on TV shows or movies I hadn’t seen, work on my blog, build a community on my social platforms, create content, bake and learn new recipes, spend more time with Josh and Charlotte, listen to new podcasts, etc. My creative energy was truly thriving.
Heading into 2021, I don’t really have any high expectations set, and, if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to go with the flow. But, being the goal-setter and planner that I am, I have written out quite a few goals and resolutions that I’d like to achieve in 2021.
For my personal goals, I’d like to continue to stay on a consistent workout routine throughout the whole year to improve my health and wellness. I’d also like to read at least 10 books this year, and spend a little less time on Instagram. Social media definitely has that power of addiction where you feel like you always have to be checking it, but I’m hoping to work on this a little in 2021 and be more intentional about my time on social media.
For my relationship goals, I’d love to plan one date night with Josh every week where we are off our phones and just being present with each other. We didn’t really do this in 2020 and is something I think could benefit us in 2021.
For my spiritual goals, I’d love to be more intentional about attending church services (virtually or until it’s safe to attend in person again) each Sunday morning.
I also have quite a few financial and career goals for 2021 as well, but there are certain things in my life that I keep private and to myself. For my blogging business, I have a few financial goals, but aside from the finance aspect of it all, I’d love to hit 20k-25k followers on my Instagram and also grow my YouTube channel to at least 100 subscribers and learn to be more consistent and creative with it.
I wanted to end off here to mention that it’s ok if you didn’t achieve all that you had hoped to in 2020, this was not an easy year for anybody. But all in all, I hope it at least taught you something new. What are some things you’re proud to have accomplished in 2020, or what are you hoping to accomplish in 2021?
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Thanks for reading and happy new year! Wishing you a happy, or better, 2021!