I’m sitting in the Orlando airport waiting to get home after a wonderful weekend with just my husband to celebrate my birthday!
It’s often assumed that having a birthday so close to Christmas would probably suck, but I love It. I love the month of December and all the celebrations and joys and that come with it. Christmas cheer is needed this year more than ever and I’m so here for it!
My birthday is always a time for personal reflection, and likewise the month of December is a time to reflect on the past year. This year is no different. 2020 has felt way longer than just 12 months but at the same time February doesn’t seem that long ago.
I am so thankful for 2020, and I say this with all the empathy and love in the world. I know this was an incredibly hard year for so many people. It was a particularly emotional year for me also, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and the individuals I surround myself with. I can look back on this year with so much gratitude.
1. I’ve learned that I am stronger than I thought.
As a small business owner, this year was challenging. Even with the shut downs we still had a choice to make: We could call it quits and blame Covid-19, the market or whatever. Or we could make some changes, innovate and keep our business growing. We chose the latter. It was hard and scary but I never doubted myself, my ability or my work ethic. I learned that I’m resilient. And I’m thankful for that lesson because its given me the confidence to accomplish even more.
2. I was reminded of how important my relationships are to my well being.
This year more than ever, I’ve leaned that I need people. I need communication, love, hugs, socializing, laughter, a shoulder to cry on, moments to celebrate. I need my people, my tribe.
This year we had to be creative: We celebrated birthdays through zoom, had small weddings outside, and met in small groups. We sent more pictures and videos, talked on the phone more and cherished the times we could get together. I’m even more thankful for my family and friends because they contribute to my happiness and well being more than they realize.
3. I’ve learned the value of a schedule and routine and keeping with my personal goals.
Our lives were completely disrupted for a while earlier this year. The uncertainty was absolutely nerve wreaking. Idleness only made it worse, so I got back to a schedule as best I could.
When it felt like the rest of the world stopped moving, I knew I had to keep going. This meant that I continued with my normal routine as best as I could manage. I had dedicated work time, gym time, play time and bed time. It was an abbreviated schedule for sure but that small sense of normalcy really helped me to stay on track and look to the bright future. 2020 threw a wrench in my plans and it may have slowed me down but it didn’t stop me.
4. I’ve learned that there is more love in the world than there is fear or hate.
This year it felt like every month came with a new disaster, more pain and grief and fear. But with every new disaster, I witness the people that came to heal, to make right, to protect, and to serve. Sometimes it takes a disaster in order to see the heroes. I saw a lot of heroes this year.
To the people that stepped up this year, thank you! Thank you to our teachers, our law enforcement, and our medical professionals. Thank you to our philanthropists, our freedom fighters, activists, our pastors and leaders. Thank you to the families that stepped up to support their favorite small businesses. Lots of hands came together this year virtually and otherwise. Seeing this brought so much hope.
5. I was reminded time and time again the gift that health is.
This year I learned not to take my health for granted and to do my diligence in protecting it. I have a greater appreciation and dedication to my health and fitness. The best medicine I can give myself is proper nutrition, an active life style and adequate rest. I’ve always lived an active lifestyle but this year I focused more on learning how food affects my body physically and mentally and I how I can best heal my body through food and rest.
I am not perfect in this by any means but I am working on consistency and applying the knowledge I’ve gained so that I can grow older but stay strong and healthy. I want to be around for may many years to continue to love my family and serve my community. In order to accomplish this I have to take care of myself first.
Last year on my Instagram account I wrote about my goals for the new year and new decade, I made a small list of wishes for myself:
“ …As we move into the roaring 20’s, I’m going to be working on being a better leader, I’m going to stop playing small and stop playing safe. I’m going to do hard things, even when I don’t feel like it because thats where growth begins. I’m going to love harder, and breath deeper. And as before I’m going to love mercy and seek justice, and walk humbly with Jesus.”
In 2020 I definitely accomplished the above and moving forward I know there will be more growth and bigger opportunity for me to lead, and love and do the hard thing. I’m ready for it.
2021 let’s go!!