style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
Today is the last day of 2020.
We made it.
I hope you are healthy and well as the countdown to midnight begins. I know that January 1st is no miracle cure for all the tragedy and chaos of the past 10 months. Still, I remain optimistic that a new calendar year will bring with it new energy and a much needed gust of fresh air.
This year has certainly provided the perspective shift (aka swift kick in the pants) that I desperately needed. I know that everyone’s COVID-19 story is unique so I will only speak for myself.
I’d been waiting for this Universal wake-up call.
I knew that I needed to see my entire life through fresh eyes and yet I resisted. I was waiting for just the right time to examine the life I was living and begin to make some desired and necessary changes.
That 'right' time began on March 12, 2020.
I’ve learned so much about myself during these scary, unprecedented months. As we wrap up ‘the year that felt like it would never end’, I want to share (and document) a few highlights, discoveries, silver linings and random bits that I’ve experienced during the long, strange trip from March (you remember, the month of 1,000 days) to these final hours of 2020.
Takeaways from the Most Unusual Year Ever
Simplicity (for me, it always starts here)
Just when I thought I’d decluttered enough… enter 2020. Nothing like a ‘Shelter in Place’ order to make me take stock of all the excess, unnecessary stuff in my home. I purged a little deeper and it felt amazing.
After too long in frumpy sweats, I turned to simple, comfortable, cozy clothing that made me feel put together (and even chic). This made such a difference in my own life, that I created Cozier at Home virtual style sessions to help other women feel amazing in their SAH/WFH clothing.
You can still book a January Cozier at Home Session. (They are so fun!)
I lit all the candles! In the past, I tended to ‘save’ favorite candles for special occasions. 2020 made me realize that every single day is a Special Occasion. Celebrate now.
To combat the chapped skin caused by all the hand-washing, I finally put lotion by the sinks! My sweet daughter pampered me with my favorite hand cream and my dream hand soap! Simple, and luxurious upgrades.
I made masks out of hankies (which remind me of my dad so that's a plus). Super thrilled that I do remember how to sew! Making something with my hands felt really good in a time of complete uncertainty.
New brand, new website. During the initial ‘stay at home’, I spent hours getting clear on my vision for The Together Act… which ultimately led me to Kristen Cain Style. I revamped my business and completely rebuilt my website (with helpful input from two creative, talented friends).
I learned to pivot. As a once perfectionist*, I first met the call to pivot with much resistance. I liked things the way they were. (insert foot stomp) I didn’t want to modify my regularly scheduled life or adapt to a frightening new ‘normal’. Looking back, I see that like most things, pivoting becomes easier with practice. And I’ve learned pivoting isn’t that painful… it’s actually kind of fun. From here on, I hope I’ll be quicker to recognize when it’s time to pivot.
WE have experienced immense collective loss. The amount of suffering is utterly inconceivable. I’m grieving the routines and celebrations that once felt almost boringly familiar. I’m grieving the loss of over 1.8 million souls I never knew. The ache is palpable. I feel an underlying sadness and sorrow for all the horrors experienced and exposed this year… the pandemic, racism, political corruption, raging fires, job loss, failed businesses, and so much more.
And, I also finally feel JOY. In July, I started (virtually) seeing a therapist. Enter Kate and Joyful Moments. One of my first assignments was to write down the Joyful Moments I experienced each day. Embarrassingly, this simple task was anything but. Joy was so foreign to me that I actually printed out the definition of the word Joy and hung it on our fridge as a reminder. (I also added a Feelings Wheel so that we could all pay more attention to the big, unfamiliar feelings we were experiencing. My family loved that;-) I've been documenting Joyful Moments every day since July. I love the ritual of recording them in my journal daily and my ability to recognize Joy in the moment.
2020 has been one long gratitude event. Never before have I been more acutely aware of the incredible blessings in my life.
While I hadn’t actually been dreaming of an ‘empty nest’, I was curious what it would feel like for Matthew and me to be the sole occupants of our home most of the time. I’d entertained the idea of romantic lunches and long stretches of time to reconnect. Instead, I received the unexpected, even better gift of having my three grown up kids at home for ‘long stretches of time to reconnect’.
I saw my whiteness for what it is, an unearned privilege. I began the journey of unlearning. I sat in the shame of all the hidden and blatant ways I’ve been racist and the harm I’ve caused with my ignorance. My eyes are open. I am accountable. I will continue to show up and speak up as an anti-racist.
Sometimes we can recognize when we're living through ‘history in the making’. 2020 is certainly one of those times. I gave a ‘masked' Santa Claus ornament to each of my kids for Christmas. When they opened them, I mentioned that I needed to write the year on the back… as we always do with ornaments so that years from now it’s easy to remember the ‘when’. They quickly announced that there was no need to write on these ornaments.
“We will never forget this year!”
"2020 equals masks!"
“Let’s hope there is only ever one year like this one!”
And yet… I’m a little reluctant to drop the mic on 2020. There was so much opportunity for personal growth this year. I want to be sure that I haven’t left any lessons unlearned or any hard truths unseen. I want to carry all the wisdom of 2020 into the next nine years of this decade and beyond.
I've been listening to this song as I've been writing. The words feel fitting for the final day of 2020.
Wishing you and yours a 2021 full of little miracles and enormous blessings! Cheers to good health and more Joyful Moments than you could possibly list!
Thank you for supporting me in this space. It truly means the world that you turn up to read my words.
*More on my Perfectionism journey coming soon! Wow. What an eye-opening, life-changing discovery.
Photos: The amazing Cole Laurain.