Reviewing 2020 And Looking Ahead To 2021


During one of my searches for a little more serenity and zen in 2020, I came across this gem of a blog, Be More With Less, written by Courtney Carver. Courtney is the creator of the Project 333 minimalist fashion challenge, which some of you have attempted (Disclaimer: Not me, I love my closet full of shoes and clothes 😊), but she also writes a weekly newsletter giving tips on how to bring more serenity into your daily life. And if ever there was a year for working on serenity, 2020 is/was it!

Over the weekend Courtney's latest email arrived, and it encouraged readers to give time to reflect on all that was 2020, including the highs and moments of learning along with the lows and moments of loss. So rather than doing so quietly on paper, I thought I'd do so here instead.

  • What were the lows? What did you learn from them? The lows were initially the loss of the many pleasure points in our lives - theater, symphony, social gatherings - but that then evolved to the low of being distanced from our youngest daughter and granddaughters on the east coast. Prior to the pandemic we would fly out to visit them every two to three months, and though we missed them in between visits, we knew the next visit was soon to come. Having that freedom taken away was rough, even heartbreaking at times. And thus I learned that while the distractions of entertainment in our lives was wonderful and appreciated, the time spent with our family, and in particular our rapidly growing granddaughters, was the true essence of our lives.
  • What were the highs? Did you celebrate them? Immediately this list comes to mind: Cruising around the tip of South America in January and February, a dream of my husbands that we were able to accomplish just prior to the pandemic reaching the Americas in late February; the joy on my oldest granddaughter's face when she put on her fancy dress and tiara for an outdoor High Tea we attended together here in July; her excitement at returning to her favorite beach here, called Baby Beach due to it's gentle waters; my youngest granddaughter's ecstatic face as I spun here around and around in the kitchen one day, her legs tightly clenched around my waist as we twirled; our decision to keep on with RV'ing by buying a more comfortable travel trailer; discovering the joys of simply being still at the ocean rather than in motion via hiking/walking/running/bicycling as we usually are; the pleasure of hearing live music once again via the many solo performers that began to pop up outdoors all over the place; and most surprisingly of all - the joy of simply being around people after months of Stay At Home restrictions, even if outdoors and from a masked distance.
  • What do you want to leave behind? Becoming too enmeshed in my daughters' lives, which can lead to my love appearing controlling rather than caring at times, a lesson I have worked hard to learn and overcome. Both come from a place of love, but controlling is about trying to keep them away from areas of possible pain instead of trusting that they have the wisdom to do so themselves.
  • What do you want to make room for? More time spent outdoors. I do decently well, but I could do even better. I also want to make room for more reading, more checking in with friends and extended family, and even more guitar playing.
  • Who would you like to thank? My oldest daughter, for consistently encouraging me to live my best life, and for exemplifying how to love unconditionally.
  • How can you take even better care of your physical and mental health in the new year? Less sugar, even more vegetables, daily meditation, weekly just-because baths, less news, more candles and soft music style romance. 
  • What creative projects would you like to pursue? A return to manual photography. I have a beautiful camera, tripod, and set of lenses, and a gorgeous coastline within easy reach, so this next year I plan to put down my iPhone camera, and instead pick up my SLR.
  • Where will you go when it's safe to travel again? In descending order: first to visit my youngest daughter and granddaughters, then Europe, specifically Wales, Scotland, and Iceland.
  • How do you want to give back? Continuing my current volunteer efforts with our local marine institute once they are able to fully reopen, plus get trained to be a volunteer at our local state beach. My focus is on helping people fall in love with our beautiful ocean, including the many creatures that live in and alongside it, in the hope that they will experience the same joy and serenity it delivers that I do. And I will continue my work with several local food and mental health organizations, recognizing that before we can reach for greater things like joy and serenity, we must first have the basics in place - food, shelter, safety.

I love these type of thought exercises, and I am surprised at some of my responses, which I tried very hard not to overthink, but rather to just let thoughts come out as they may. Some of you do a daily journal and are therefore used to the 'aha's' that doing so can lead to, but color me a slow learner over here. 

Life just never stops delivering lessons does it?

Reviewing 2020 And Looking Ahead To 2021