Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned In 2020
January 2, 2021
2020 was one of the toughest years of my life, and yet, I certainly didn’t have it as hard as others did. I wanted to share that at the outset of writing this post, because in the grand scheme of things, I came out of this year pretty much unscathed. I have my health and my job; and even though I wanted to divorce my husband at times and run away from my kids, my family is intact, and miraculously we are stronger than ever.
At the same time, 2020 was tough on me mentally, in ways that people don’t see simply by looking at pretty photos on Instagram. I fell flat on my face, several times. I cried, I experienced sadness, frustration, confusion, anger and even a little rage. At times, my depression and anxiety got the better of me, and although I am a huge proponent of CBD, no amount of CBD helped at times. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer during the pandemic, and that really shook me and took a toll on my own mental well-being. I was anxious and worried all the time, and felt helpless because I couldn’t be there to take care of her.
I also got up close and personal with my shortcomings. Like real close. For the first time in my eating disorder recovery journey, I had a tough time looking at my body in the mirror, knowing that I had gained weight from eating and drinking all the things. But guess what? Recovery isn’t linear, and no one said it would always be easy.
And then there was a civil rights movement that ensued after George Floyd’s death; one that woke me the F*** up and made me examine my privilege. I started giving a damn about things that my privilege allowed me to ignore. I read books on anti-racism, I started having tough conversations with close-minded family members and friends, and I committed myself to a life long journey of anti-racism, teaching my boys about it, and using my voice and social media platforms to stand up for those whose voices are not heard. You can call it “white girl woke,” or what ever you want to call it, but there’s no better time than the present to improve ourselves and become better humans.
While 2020 is now in hind sight, and we are a few days into 2021, I wanted to share a few things with you – things that I either learned this year for the first time, or that became especially clear to me.
Intuitive eating will set you free. Now, I am going to be very honest with you. During the earlier part of quarantine (March – May), I ate and drank my feelings, allowing my body to eat what it wanted and needed. There was definitely some emotional eating in there. And although I gained weight (I don’t know how much because I no longer own a scale), I felt pretty empowered trusting my body and giving it what it wanted; even if that meant gaining a few pounds and my clothes no longer fitting. Because do you know what the alternative is? Counting calories, macros and/or restricting, when the fact of the matter is, we are in the middle of global f’ing pandemic, and we need to lean in and be kind to our bodies. And, now that things are starting to look up, I have trusted my body yet again, and because I have done so, I am right back to where I started at the beginning of the pandemic. No restricting, just leaning into the times and adjusting. Gaining weight is scary, I know that, but I do believe that there are times in life where you just gotta lean into that; if not for anything but your own mental health and sanity.
Social media is not real life. During the pandemic I spent more time than usual on Instagram. I saw others’ accomplishing so much during their down time. I had a hard time at first, because I am someone that loves and thrives on productivity, and mine was thwarted in a major way, because I had both boys with me at home…for months. I looked like a ragged bat-out-of-hell most days, and yet I saw so many people who still managed to curate a beautiful feed. My engagement on Instagram tanked at times, which sucked because I put so much time, energy, and love into my posts. But what I learned is, that while social media is place of connection and community that I take very seriously to connect with all of you, it’s also just a marketing tool. I think for us creators, we forget that sometimes. I also learned – like really learned – that my worth isn’t determined by the number of likes on a photo or the number of followers I have. And I stopped comparing my life to everyone else’s highlight reel. I feel much better now 🙂
Not everyone is going to like you; but not everyone matters.I love this one. I got this saying from a TikTok video and it’s stuck with me ever since (I had to make a TikTok too!). It is so true. I know I am not alone in saying this, but oftentimes we get so caught up in wanting people to like us, that we forget that not everyone matters. If fact, very few people actually matter. Aside from that, the most important things is that we learn to like ourselves. That is what matters.
If your purpose is perfection, you will always be chasing it. If there is one thing that became ever-so-clear to me this year, it’s that we need to stop chasing perfection. First, perfection doesn’t exist, and two, we can spend our whole lives chasing it, and we will still fall short. Why? Because there are always going to be things in our lives that are not perfect; it’s about accepting that and focusing on being content instead. Note, that doesn’t mean being lazy and not striving to be our best; it’s simply about giving yourself grace and a deep knowing that perfection doesn’t exist and that we are doing our best.
Wake up and sweat! Gosh, I love a good sweat. But, I am a group fitness junkie. So, at the beginning of the pandemic, I struggled with the home workouts. I would quit mid-way through each one, and I got so frustrated, I went weeks without moving outside, even for a walk. Then I got my act together and decided to take my life by the reins, and getting my ass outside. I started sweating and pushing myself again; and that is when I started feeling better, mentally. Endorphins are everything and they are essential! These days, there are a few fitness studios that have opened back up for outdoor workouts, and although I have started going back here and there, I have come to embrace the free outdoors more than ever. So wake up and move your body first thing in the morning. It’s the quickest way to a good mood. Walk! Run! Ride your bike. Just do what makes you happy and what feels good!
Tell your loved ones that you love them. Don’t delay. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I think we can all agree on this one, and I don’t think I need to say more. It’s now become abundantly clear how very precious that life is.
Be kind. And if you don’t have anything nice to say, listen to what your mom said: don’t say anything at all. So much happened this year; from the pandemic, to the civil rights movement, and then the presidential election. During this time, there was so much anger and hatred floating around the internet. On my little corner of Instagram, even I was the receiving end of some pretty nasty shit; from people criticizing me for not doing enough; to people criticizing my parenting to my political choices; and even fake Instagram accounts created to spread hate. At the end of the day, being mean doesn’t achieve anything, and kindness always wins. We need to remember that we are all humans. None of us are perfect. We are all (hopefully) doing the best that we can. So be nice and perhaps examine your own perfections before coming after someone else’s.
Productivity is important, but so is rest. Boy oh boy, did I learn this one. Starting in August, my business finally ramped up again after a very slow earlier part of the year. And I jumped on that bandwagon and cranked out work; so much work; to the point that I burned myself out and I wasn’t very pleasant to be around. It wasn’t until Christmas Day, that I finally learned into rest. I stopped creating recipes; I didn’t cook a damn thing. I read more books to my boys. We watched movies. I went from being #TeamNoChill to being the chillest mofo of all. And now I feel refreshed and rejuvenated to tackle 2021! The point of me telling you this, is that no one benefits when you are overworked and burned out. Take the time to rest!
I hope you enjoyed my fun little pizza/wine series; a collection of photos that very much reflected my mood in 2020 :).
Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know what point you resonated with the most, and share your learnings from 2020! And