For the first time in a few years I shut down over Christmas for a few weeks. It was wonderful. It was just what I needed. A chance to shut down, shut off and realign and look back over the year and see what life lessons I learnt in 2020.
The last few weeks before we shut down for the year were a little crazy which meant I didn’t have much time to properly look back over the year. I did write a post about the positives that came out of 2020 for our family – there were actually more good moments than bad.
As we welcomed the new year in last night, just us (minus Cameron), it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on the lessons learnt in the previous 12 months.
There were many many lessons learnt during 2020, these are just a few of that stand out for me.
- Baking (good) bread is not as simple as adding flour, yeast and water – I have yet to find the secret.
- Saying no is essential to your mental health. When you work for yourself it isn’t always easy to say no to work. Add in a pandemic where people are losing their jobs left right and centre, it is even harder. I know how important boundaries are but for a few months I lost focus and was taking on every little piece of work coming my way – it was a lot. It was too much. Saying now became essential to my mental health.
- It is the little things that matter. When you are forced to look for gratitude in your home, with your family, you start to really value the small things – cooking dinner together, kids arguing over who gets the last piece of cake, playing Monopoly for the millionth time or spending the day binge watching our favourite shows.
- Once you start cutting out all the additives and nonsense they put into food, you will struggle to go back. Even before lockdown I started cutting out things like condiments, store bought cookies/cakes, ready made food and sauces. During lockdown we ramped this up and not only did we all start enjoying our meals more. On those rare occasions when I tried to use convenience meals, no one actually enjoyed them.
- I struggle with unknowns. Lockdown wasn’t such a huge deal for me but the unknowns around schools (for Cameron), travel, lockdown levels etc was a lot for me to deal with. It wasn’t so much that I objected to the rules or decisions but that we had such long periods of waiting and wondering what would happen. This seems to be something that is going to continue into 2021 unfortunately so I am trying to learn to accept the unknowns more.
Happiness is homemade.
- Online shopping is amazing.
- Planning really is the key to a happy life. Like most moms, I juggle a lot every day. It is the nature of parenthood, working and being a wife – there is a lot that needs to happen. When I take the time to plan the bus runs smoothly, when I don’t, the bus veers all over the road and leaves me anxious and stressed. 2020 reminded me just how important planning is – it is what allows me to keep all the balls in the air (mostly).
- There is always a silver lining. Probably one of the biggest lessons that 2020 reminded us of. Even when you are forced to stay in your home, there is always something to be grateful for. Always. Sometimes you have to look hard, but you will always find it.
- I can’t control everything. This lesson I am still learning. As hard as it is to admit, I like to be in control. I like to know what is going to happen, when it is going to happen and how it is going to happen. I have a plan B, C and often a plan D for just about anything. Last year we had to all give up a certain amount of control and it was (is) hard.
- Lush bath bombs are amazing. They are in fact an experience all of their own.
- Fear is our greatest enemy. We spoke a lot about fear in 2020 because it was what drove a lot of our decisions. None of us have lived through something like this so it was scary, very scary. Fear was the reason people stocked up on toilet paper, it was the reason people stockpiled and baked bread. Fear is, without a doubt, our greatest enemy. I have been trying hard to not make decisions from a place of fear.
- Plants change up a home. I have never had indoor plants before – not sure why but now I want them all, all over.
- Sometimes it is ok to shut the world out completely. Taking time outs become essential during 2020. When the noise just got too much, shutting out social media, news and other noise is vital. My job is online. My job requires me to be online a lot. I check a lot of sites and pages every day but everyone now and then I have to take the weekend off. I don’t necessarily do anything constructive, Shutting everything out for a few days has become essential to my mental health.
- Cake is a meal. That is all.
- Conspiracy theorists are a dime a dozen and they help no one. Somewhere during Level 5 lockdown I stopped reading the news. Not because I didn’t care but because the conspiracy theorists are everywhere and they really add no value. I enjoy a good debate and there is always another side, or even 3 sides, to the story I choose to believe. But listening to all the nonsense people sprout is exhausting and somehow it is always front and centre.
The beauty of life is in the small things.
- Kids don’t need as much as you assume they do. We 4/6 birthdays in lockdown and it showed me that kids don’t need a big party or piles of gifts for their birthday to be special. We are going to continue to keep our birthday celebrations, small but special.
- Not all coffee is created equal. We upped our coffee game last year and it has been one of the best things to come from the year. We have discovered some amazing coffees and running the coffee machine daily ensures our house smells amazing all the time.
- My kids wear too many clothes and eat too much. I suppose this is more of a moan than a lesson. I thought the washing would be less when we were in lockdown because we weren’t going anywhere. The opposite was true – they seemed to generate more washing. And they always need to eat – always!
- I have pretty cool friends. We are all completely different and lockdown effected us all differently. We were there for each other, listening, advising and venting.
- The biggest lesson I learnt is that life is unpredictable. You got to roll with the punches and make sure you have a strong, support team on your side.