As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to sit back and reflect on this past year–because ultimately we can all agree on the number of silver linings. In short this year stands out in my mind as pure survival mode, but I decided I would set my alarm at 5am every morning for a week to play Joan Didion before anyone in my house was up to jot down some of my thoughts. (Oh how I idolize the life of a writer. Do you?) Here I am at the end of the week getting ready to hit publish and I have to say, I truly savored these quiet morning writing sessions. So while I hope you find some enjoyment in reading this longer piece… ultimately this practice was for me. And here’s to making more time for ourselves! If this year reinstilled in me anything, it’s that our time is so precious, so I took this as a great reminder to continue to do more of the things I love and what serves me in this next year. Thanks for continuing to support me and follow along for the ride!
So brew yourself a cup of tea (you may like this chai winter tea blend I’ve been into) and take a read. Also, you know me, I like to keep things light and fluffy around here so this is my lighthearted version of 2020.
I find it most comical thinking back to those early weeks when we first went into lockdown-mode. I even wrote a blog post about working from home and how I balance Rex and Willow’s schedule. Hilarious. I thought quarantine would be a couple of weeks (not multiple seasons) and oh the novelty of Tanner working from home! (Our mornings together and evening family dinners are the ultimate highlight of this year, hands down! We have been so lucky to have him around more.)
I’ve been inspired by Joan Didion for years but fell for her all over again in early May. Pulling my favorite Didion reads back off the bookshelf (The Year of Magical Thinking, Slouching Towards Bethlehem), and even rewatching her Netflix documentary… which spiraled me into an on-again love for her classic style. And classic style in general.
As personal style goes, this year proved to me–like in the depths of motherhood lows–how important dressing for yourself is. I lived in my trusty denim and lounge attire, a Sister Katie pant sticks out in my mind as my quarantine uniform–but I would still layer my jewelry everyday because it made me feel like me. As a fashion lover–once an Elle girl, forever an Elle girl?–I craved a chance to get really dressed up. But this year also proved, wear the house dress, make date nights at-home a thing. Zoom happy hours? (Mid-summer, my cousins and I took an online sangria making class with drag queens which was comically fun!) Ultimately, dressing for yourself over anyone else is the mood boost we all needed. I think I actually defined my style and edited my closet more in 2020 than any other year–truly understanding the pieces I live in, clothing that makes me feel good, those special pieces in my closet that I value as art, and ultimately what true style means to me.
I dove back into reading in 2020–devouring more books than I have since… oh, pre-Rex for sure? It fed me in so many ways. I had my spiritual / self-help phase. (You may not know this about me but I’m very into angel signs… a noteworthy book during this time period included: Vibrate Higher Daily by Lalah Delia). Then moved into nonfiction and fiction which is what I’ve been enjoying ever since. Another noteworthy phase: my Normal People obsession. Love Sally Rooney’s writing style but let’s be honest, it was truly a Paul Mescal obsession. Never have I fan-girled so hard and convinced myself that one day I’d be back in London and certainly I’d be able to track that (omg he’s only 24!!!) hottie down somewhere.
Another noteworthy read of 2020: A Little Life. I have a hard time recommending this one as it was so dark and one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read (I had to pause it for a couple of weeks just to get through it)–but it made me appreciate the people in my life, my health and the simple joys of life in a whole new way. I still think of the main character, Jude, all the time. I’ve also been thinking a lot about being in the best years of your life or those magical in-the-moment moments and how they could just pass you by if you’re not completely in the present to appreciate them and the people you’re with. This year made me yearn for those moments from the past.
If I’m being totally honest I was secretly hoping I might be able to talk my husband into a third baby at the beginning of this year. Then lockdown hit with a three year old and 1.5 year old. Namely, it was that three year old that drove us batty. We had our moments but also I wouldn’t want to go through this year without them or by myself. The grass is always greener for sure. Like when I would chat with my kid-free sister and brother-in-law about all the ways they were spending their time this year while we were just in survival mode. Ah, but of course, the silver lining–spending more time together as a family stands out in my mind more than any of the lows. In fact, while I definitely shoved Rex and Willow in front of the TV way more than I’d like to admit, I slowed down to just be with them in the moment this year. And we made memories I will forever treasure.
Also, Tanner getting to work from home while they’re so young was such a blessing. Our evening family dinners which were not regular for us in previous years were a high note for me. Plus, to be honest, who wants to be traveling and dining out with a 3 year old and a 1 year old anyway? ____________________
On slow content, slowing down in general and evolving:
Speaking of toddlers–between juggling motherhood and the blog during lockdown without our nanny, I hit a point of wanting to take a pause on the blog. I told myself to take the summer off, to re-evaluate and take the blog and everything I was doing back to a place of only doing what brings me joy. If I was going to put my energy behind something, I wanted it to be more thoughtful, purposeful and genuine. Even just typing this out is a fresh reminder of what was going through my mind at that time.
I think what drove me to pick up books again this year was this craving for slow content. I am someone who loves to flip through a magazine, newspaper, book. And as much as I love the access we have to digital inspiration, I’m craving tangibles. I often think of my high school self collaging in my bedroom–which later manifested into this blog.
Ultimately this year made me think more about what I want to be doing with the little free time I have, how I show up and what do I actually share?
Community in such an isolated year:
In such an isolated year, somehow I found myself with a stronger sense of community. Did you feel this as well? That in times of uncertainty we lean on our people. I am someone who loves to bring others together and found myself at a loss when I couldn’t do that this year. We made a Covid pod with our neighbors and it is sad to admit that it took a global pandemic to become closer friends–but I am forever grateful for our front yard workouts, monthly summer outdoor dinner parties and coffee fueled walks that helped keep me sane.
In conclusion, have I miraculously changed for the better this year? Actually,… possibly! I do know I have settled nicely into being a homebody. As someone who typically thinks of themselves as an extrovert–the past couple of years I’ve realized how much I need a balance of home life. (The true Libra in me). And home to me is my people.