I’m sure that most of us would agree that 2020 has mostly been a sh*t show.
People have been sick, lost loved ones, lost jobs, and struggled with mental health. The pandemic has changed the entire way we live and interact. And for many it’s not the only thing that has created struggles this year.
If you’ve been by my blog during the second half of the year, then you probably already know that my mother-in-law passed away at the end of August. She lived a lot of life in her 88 years and I have learned many lessons from her time in my life.
What I haven’t discussed is that back in March, before the shutdowns began, I was sitting in the stands preparing to watch my daughter play soccer. She had made the Varsity team and was about to have a pre-season scrimmage (they never made it to the actual season before the shutdown). My mom called and in the course of our little chat, she told me about some health issues she’d been having. I told her I thought she needed to see a doctor. Fast forward through many months of doctors and tests and toward the end of August she received her diagnosis…Multiple Sclerosis. It was hard not to be there to walk through the journey with her. It’s hard to not be there to walk alongside her now. I have poured out many tears about it.
However, just as I am constantly sharing here, I have still sought out the positive. While we hope to once again travel to Scotland, she and I are so grateful for the two visits that we’ve already taken. It was the remembrance of those trips that prompted me to share a Virtual Hike of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland with you all. And I was speaking to myself just as much as I was speaking to you when I shared 22 Quotes on Hope to Help You Through Stressful Times. I do want to share that my mother is in great spirits. She’s had some rough days, but she is an eternal optimist that brings smiles to anyone she meets.
Life is full of ups and downs.
But there is still beauty in the chaos.
We only have to look.
I have decided to close out 2020 by focusing on some triumphs. Moments of gratitude and also moments that made me proud.
20 Triumphs of 2020
1. I became more consistent in my meditation practice.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra
It is no secret that I deal with anxiety issues. This year ramped those up to new levels. Meditation helps to keep me grounded. It keeps me balanced. It calms my soul. While I did not meditate every single day, I did more often than not. It was a key to my survival of 2020.
2. Miss Sunshine got her driver’s license.
In Virginia, a driver’s license is awarded at 16 years and 3 months. That is if you have finished driver’s ed and a road course. Miss Sunshine got lucky that she had accomplished that prior to the shutdown. Many of her friends with later birthdays had to wait a bit longer to head out as solo drivers.
3. I updated my About page as well as numerous blog posts.
I had many plans for how I would branch out in 2020. Some of that required updating parts of the blog. I changed the homepage format and updated the About page. I also updated many photos in some older blogs. My editing style had changed and I had also learned that I could reduce the size (without sacrificing the image) to speed up the loading times. Mainly, I worked on old travel posts like The Historical Area of Explore Park. I also added a 2020 update to the bottom of one of my most popular posts: What I Learned From 30 Days of No Alcohol.
4. I was on a Podcast.
It feels like a lifetime ago that I pushed outside my comfort zone and chatted on a podcast. And yet it was only back in January. Missed it? You can find it here: I’m on a Podcast!
5. Big Mr. successfully finished his college semester after it went fully online.
Shifting to online schooling was chaotic. Classes that are designed as online classes are different from ones suddenly forced to go online. Big Mr. prefers an in-person setting to school. However, he stayed dedicated and accomplished his goals.
6. I made some personal care products.
At the beginning of the journey through 2020, I thought that one of the ways I might branch out would be to launch a personal care line. I have many journaled ideas around it and the numerous other businesses that I thought I might launch. But first, I had to actually try to make a product. I made some lotion. It turned out more like a salve and works wonderfully for that. I’ve yet to reattempt to make it more of a lotion consistency. I also made some bath bombs and bath salts. They both turned out nicely and I use them in those moments that I remember to pamper myself by soaking in the tub. I’m proud of myself because although I don’t consider myself very crafty, I followed through on something that I wanted to try.
7. I celebrated 21 years of marriage.
I’m both grateful for the man who walked beside me through this crazy year and also proud of the fact that we’ve learned the art of compromise and compassion and all the other little ingredients that it takes in order to stay in a marriage.
8. I built a website.
Looking back on things I was proud of in 2020, I had almost forgotten about this one. My brother and father have worked together for many years. My dad recently retired and my brother took over the business. I had decided I wanted to do something special for my brother’s birthday. His journey was the catalyst for my very first Tuesday Truth. His birthday is in March and my gift to him was getting the business domain name and building a Shopify website. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting a pandemic to come along and shift the trajectory of the world, but I chugged along and produced the website. I still have some tweaking to do, but it’s been live for about half the year. You’re welcome to check it out at Chevyscrounger.com.
9. I remembered to laugh.
“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”
– Veronica Roth, Divergent
Laughter can be the best medicine. I tried to seek out ways to giggle and chuckle and chortle. Comedies, memes, jokes…I consumed them all.
10. I committed to the entire 12 weeks of The Artist’s Way.
One of the things that I noticed in my life was that it seemed like the muse had left. Where in the past I had felt inspired to write, to take photos, to try new things…I saw that desire lessening. So I decided to embark on The Artist’s Way. A twelve week course by Julia Cameron designed to help with creative rediscovery. I thoroughly enjoyed the process.
11. I took up kayaking.
We needed to find a way to embrace social distancing while still spending time in nature. Kayaking created a wonderful way to do this.
12. I grew a garden.
I’ve been wanting to grow a garden for a handful of years. Our yard does not get numerous hours of sun in one spot. We decided this would be the year and we’d have a container garden so we could move it around into the sun. We grew two types of bell peppers, two types of tomatoes, and basil. It was fun…and tasty!
13. I reconnected with my husband.
Since moving to Virginia in the summer of 2013, my husband and I have not been away from all three children at once outside of our quick three-day getaway to Charleston for our 20th anniversary in 2019 (11 Things to do in Charleston). We decided they were old enough to stay alone for a week and booked a house near the beach in Oak Island, NC. It’s easy to take your partner for granted in the daily grind. We were able to just focus on each other and do the things we love to do together.
14. I followed through on my Estate Planning.
We’ve been meaning to do our Estate Planning for some time. It’s just been about setting aside the time. Leaving the kids for an entire week made us realize how important it was. We finally met with a lawyer and put official plans in place. Hopefully, ones that won’t need to be put into action for a very long time. But there’s peace of mind that it’s done.
15. Mr. D started college.
Mr. D graduated from high school in 2019. He then moved down to Savannah, Georgia for a while. He moved back and just worked until the shutdown. This summer he made the decision to start college. While being online wasn’t the best scenario, he proceeded forward and finished his first semester.
16. I learned to knit.
Before the world descended into chaos, I had committed to pressing outside of my comfort zones. So when LoveCrafts reached out to me to see if I wanted to learn to knit, even though I was fearful of failing, I said sure! And I found out it was fun and was super proud of my creation. You can read all about it in this post: A New Way to Unwind.
17. I made my first attempt at astrophotography.
During my twelve week journey through The Artist’s Way, I was charged with taking myself on an artist’s date. On one of those, I finally pulled out my camera and made my first attempt at astrophotography. I had an Instagram friend who gave me some pointers on settings and I set my tripod up near the edge of a lake and stared in wonder at the night sky. The Milky Way was being somewhat cooperative that night.
18. I watched Miss Sunshine’s travel soccer team win a state championship.
There was nothing normal about this year. I mentioned in my introduction that Miss Sunshine’s Varsity season was shut down. As we moved to the end of the year her travel team started on a limited season. Her U19 made it through the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals to win a state championship.
19. I read 108 books.
As the year progressed, I set aside many of my goals for 2020. I had even slowed down on the goal of reading 100 books to the point that I wasn’t sure it would be achievable. But then I thought about how 2020 doesn’t get to take everything and I doubled down on my goal. And then I slayed it! I shared my final What I’ve Been Reading Lately just this week. In it, you can find all of my other reading posts for 2020.
20. I sought self-love.
2020 taught me a lot about resiliency, but not before testing me to my core. I started off the year confident, strong… the world was my oyster and I was going to wear a pearl necklace.
As we went deeper into my mother’s journey and as my mother-in-law moved closer to the end of hers, I was also dealing with other overwhelming moments of life. My focus was not on self-care. I felt that the strain of stress was showing in my body and face and so I went into hiding. Not true hiding. I just stopped showing my face on Instagram stories and rarely took any photos of myself. My internal dialogue was not that of a friend.
In December, I decided that it was time to stop hiding and to quit saying ugly things to myself and so I posted some selfies on my Instagram stories to show myself a little self-love.
I am putting 2020 to rest.
In my most recent post (the reading post) I spoke about how I pick a word that is symbolic of my theme for the upcoming year. On the anniversary of my blog, which happens on January 9th, I share why I have chosen that word. The word for 2020 was prune and whew did a lot of pruning happen. I thought hard about my word for 2021. I wrote down and then rejected many that will likely still be part of my 2021 journey.
And then I settled in on the one that spoke to my what my soul needed.
We have all walked along the precipice of unprecedented times. None of us have come through unscathed. We all could use some nourishment.
I hope that you have taken the time to seek out those simple moments of beauty that can always be found in the midst of chaos.
While I didn’t mention them in my list, I am grateful for my health, for my family, for a roof over my head and plenty of food to fill my belly. Not everyone is lucky enough to have those.
And I am grateful for all of you.
Thank you for being part of my journey.
As I shared in my final Tuesday Truth of the year (Tuesday Truth #66) YOU may be light. Rumi said it much better, so be sure to check out the post.
I’d love for you to share something you are grateful for… or proud of… or even just relief that you are still alive and have a story to tell.
Come chat in the comments. It’s a place where friendships are formed and great stories are shared.
Wishing you all a marvelous New Year.
Here’s to 2021!
Let your light shine!
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