2020 is officially over, it’s been over for a month. So, why does it feel like we just lived through the 80th month of 2020?
Last year was really hard on all of us. We’ve all had different reasons, but as a collective we know how much last year sucked. Most of us went into this new year with hope, but fully aware that the moment the clock struck midnight we weren’t exactly out of the woods. Unfortunately we can’t magically have better lives just because time says it’s a new year. Ah well, I guess I will gnaw through my millionth chocolate bar on the 80th month of 2020 and keep hoping.
My comfort is absolutely chocolate, what’s yours? Wine, weed, whiskey, cake?
Whatever it is, I say keep going, keep doing what helps. Life, time and living is such a cyclical process… they say the “circle of life” right? Well it’s true in more ways than being born and dying. This last year was so much of everything, but if I can cling to one glimmer of sparkle, it’s that it did not take my yearning to learn about myself and the world.
Something that I’ve always taken pride in was being different and really knowing why I liked things the way I did. 2020 saw me burnt the fuck out in January and really struggling to see why I was running 2 businesses. To someone on the outside I looked successful and busy but, I felt like nothing was working and all I was hanging onto were loose, frazzled threads at the end of tangled and worn out ropes.
As I struggled to make the changes I thought I needed, 2020 gave me what I actually needed. I needed rest.
I needed a reset. I needed to brood and think and process and grieve. I had been unknowingly avoiding what I really needed to do: to understand and appreciate myself, once again.
As a collective we were dealing with the pandemic and everything that came with that. Grieving our losses of normalcy and being afraid of the unknown just to name a blatant few. On top of feeling that, I was grieving the personal loss of a life I thought I was supposed to have by now. After my divorce in 2016 I dove full force into everything my ex told me I couldn’t do, including running multiple successful businesses as my sole income. I was so caught up in proving myself to a person who is no longer a part of my life. The urge to make a revenge life was purely to prove that I could. I hadn’t focused on myself in a way that was conducive to growth and really getting to know myself as an individual. I needed a focus shift.
2020 forced me into a FULL STOP. Stop working. Stop going out. Stop seeing friends. Stop dating. Stop everything. And DO NOTHING.
I fought it, of course. And, for longest spring and summer of my life, I was scared shitless. Those 3-5 months were the fire starter for my growth. I know this now, because hindsight is 20/20. See what I did there haha?! Eventually I had no other choice but to be with myself, alone. I was able to grieve the life I thought I wanted, the life I thought I was supposed to have. The suburban house with a 2 car garage, a husband and “things” that society tells us we should have in our 30s. Guess what I figured out?! I don’t fucking want it. Not in the way society says I should.
Fucking 2020. That bitch. She gave me another twist.
During the summer months of everything I just mentioned, I also had to move… to Payson, to live with my parents. I’m fiercely independent and have always been that way, and the hardest thing for me to do is ask for help. I’m learning.
If you don’t know where Payson is, it’s still in Arizona, but it’s about 1.5 – 2 hours from the Phoenix Valley. It’s a tiny town in the middle of the forest. Most people drive through on their way to somewhere else, but my parents decided to live here about 5 years ago. They love it. More power to them. I hate it. I don’t like nature, I’m an inside baby. I will hike (read: walk slowly) a bit for shoots but I’m not someone that wants to venture into the forest for shits and gigs. Nope! Bugs and dirt are my enemies.
As I write this, I’m still living here in Payson.
There’s a shit ton of snow outside and more forecasted to show up. It’s not where I pictured I’d be 8 months ago. My bestie/roommate and I are both self employed as wedding photographers, so we made the hard choice, to move in with our own families, as a smart financial decision, while we waited to see how weddings would play out with the pandemic. It’s been a wild ride. I don’t think I’ll clearly see everything I’ve learned here in Payson until I’ve left.
One thing I do know is that it absolutely forced me to rest MORE.
Yes, a few months of shutdowns weren’t enough to drive the point into my stubborn ass. Nope, I needed something bigger to see the importance of rest. So, 2020 gave me even more isolation with physical distance from everything I knew.
With no weddings to photograph, no coffee shops nearby and no friends to have a distanced park visit with; I had nothing to do but rest. I read books for the first time since high school. Actual books, non-textbook, enjoyable type shit. I listened to a lot of music and made playlists, logged hella Netflix marathon hours + I cooked every meal. There’s no takeout or delivery here. I learned to really meditate and created a morning routine around it where I journaled consistently for the first time in about 25 years. It sounds like a picturesque montage of the workaholic bitch that somehow inherits an old country cabin and has to fix it up and cook her own meals. Who am I kidding, it is exactly that! But living it doesn’t feel as glamourous.
This lifestyle is not what I would choose under any other circumstances.
Cicely Tyson says this best, “Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch, what make you go beyond the norm.” As much as we hated 2020, that bitch, I know that she made us all stronger. She made me stronger. This past year was so many things. One thing it was NOT though, was easy.