2020 has been a heavy year. I don’t need to point out all the ways, because I think we’ve seen it everywhere, but I’ve been feeling heavy for a few months. I’ve been giving myself grace, but I am tired of feeling this way. Just when I think America is coming together (quarantine), something massive comes up and the polarization is unbelievable (race issues/politics).

If you’re like me, you’re tired. Tired of the fights, and shaming for wearing a mask, and shaming for not wearing a mask, and both sides bickering about what to do… News flash, no one knows what to do! It’s the first time this has happened for every single living person, and everyone is doing the best they know how to.

Anyway, I digress. My point is, I’m tired. Tired of the pandemic, of the heaviness. Tired of the unknown, tired of the fear. And I’m ready to see people SMILING again! And the list of who I want to hug just keeps getting longer.

And yet, even with all of that, 2020 has been a year of lessons for me. Quarantine taught me a lot of important lessons that I hope stay with me even when this time is a distant memory.

Slow Down

I must admit, it is a little sad–and maybe even pathetic– that it took a GLOBAL pandemic for me to be forced to slow down. I have always been a person who does too much. Says yes to too many things, piles too many things on my to-do list, takes 18 credits plus managing two jobs… The list could continue. I over-do, all of the time and I always have. So, back in March when everything initially shut down, I was one of the millions who got furloughed. I was lucky enough to continue work here, but because of my unemployment conditions, I was capped at 25 hours a week. 25 hours a week from 50+ hours a week is a BIG change.

And so, I slowed down. I took lunch breaks and puzzled with my mom. I slept in and spent some time with my new husband. We got to exercise and go on walks together. (Because, oh yeah, forgot to mention we moved in with my family when the pandemic hit!!! But that’s another story 😉 ) I read for enjoyment, and for self-improvement. I even did yoga a few times in my basement by myself!

The point is, I slowed down and enjoyed my week, rather than planning and prepping and doing for every hour of every day until Friday afternoon hit. And it felt good. As life keeps moving towards a new normal, and things begin opening up as they once were, I want to remember to take time to puzzle in the week.

Enjoy the Moment

It’s like the common saying, “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Like I said above, I was always in a such a big rush that I forgot to enjoy what I was doing. I would be multi-tasking 90% of the day–even doing some design work while my husband and I were supposed to be connecting and spending time together watching a movie! I didn’t sit still enough to breathe in my surroundings.

And then, quarantine.

When I had all of these moments and my daily routine taken from me, I saw how much I missed all of the things. 15 days in, all I wanted to do was go to a movie theater with my husband and eat popcorn and think of nothing else other than enjoying where I was. I wanted to walk the aisles of Target and smile at passerby’s and not worry about where I needed to be, or what I should be doing instead.

Well, I couldn’t do those things, but I could start learning how to enjoy the moment. And what a beautiful, amazing lesson that came out of 2020 for me. I can get things done on my to-do list AND take 30 minutes to sit down and chat with a close colleague. I can stop and literally smell the roses, or whatever it is, and enjoy where I am. That’s another lesson I want to keep living.

Never Take the Small Things for Granted

Similar to enjoying the moment, I learned to never take small things for granted.

My husband plays football at a Jr. College here, and they just announced they will not be having a Fall season. They are hoping to push their season into Spring.

Spring! Football Games! That doesn’t seem right! Flannel and Friday nights and hot cocoa, those are small things, but those are football games! And now, that won’t be happening this fall. I look back and think about all of the games I multi-tasked (what, me?) or only went for one quarter because I “had things to do”. What I would give to have those times back! A small thing, but something I won’t take for granted anymore.

There are more lessons, but I will leave these three here to keep me accountable to enjoy life a little bit more. And hug those I love a little tighter. I hope you are staying safe and healthy and are learning a little more, too.