No one needs an explanation that 2020 was, well, not what we were all anticipating. Living through a global pandemic has been nothing short of wild, and has brought its fair share of anxiety, isolation, grieving, and a myriad of other heavy emotions for so many. Without minimizing the weight of that reality, I do think it is an important practice to look back on the year passed, meditate on wins and losses, and show gratitude for what it taught us.
As far as the lifestyle changes we all had to adjust to in this pandemic (quarantining, mask wearing, working from home, and socializing virtually rather than in person, to name a few), I have to say I’ve personally been very appreciative of newly instilled rituals this has also allowed. Specifically, there are five new habits I picked up this year that I’m not only grateful for, but plan to carryover into the new year!
Reading has always been a part of who I am (fun fact: I was an English major, and spent a short stint in grad school studying American literature), but I found myself reading less and less over the years. Once I opened my storefront several years back, I mostly dropped recreational reading, devoting my free time instead to work-related reading (books on how to run a business, be a leader, the history of vintage fashion, etc.). I think all those work-oriented books sucked the fun out of reading for me, and as a result, I could count on one hand how many books I’d read in the past five years. Boo.
Being stuck at home has brought back my love of reading (you can keep up with what I’m reading here on Good Reads), and while I fell just short of my goal of reading 20 books this past year, I reset the same goal for 2021. Reading before bed every night and on weekend mornings has made me feel so much more in tune with myself and feels like a true escape from everything.
Find what you love and make time to read, it’s the ultimate self-care!
A few favorite reads from 2020
You all know I love interior design, but now that home literally defined our worlds in 2020, I started to hone in on different ways to celebrate home that I hadn’t paid that much attention to before.
Most notably, I’ve come to appreciate:
Basically, I learned its the little (and often very utilitarian!) things at home that make staying cooped up more of a pleasure than a punishment.
shop some of my favorite 2020 home pleasures
I know I am not alone in this one! At the start of the year, I transitioned to a pescatarian diet.
Being confined to home along with a new diet was the perfect formula for playing around a lot more in the kitchen — not to mention the fact that we redid our kitchen at the beginning of the year!
I’ve been corralling some of my favorite recent recipes over on Pinterest on these boards, and have turned to this, this, and this cookbook plenty as well!
things that helped me find my groove again in the kitchen
Between various credit cards, varying due dates on bills, student loans, etc., the many moving parts in personal finances were starting to get the best of me, ultimately leading our budget to be inefficient and not optimized (aka, creating waste and the occasional financial snafu).
I’ve tried various apps, like Mint, some variations of Quickbooks, and others whose names escape me, but ultimately making my own spreadsheet with automated formulas is what has worked best for me. (Google Sheets is the best and makes it super easy for Will and I to check in on where we stand at any given second and ping each other in comments to assign x, y, z to one another — it works super well for us!)
After spending a few hours building out the best spreadsheet for our needs, I now update it weekly and have every single dollar assigned down to toiletries, personal shopping, alcohol, gifts, and more. Not having to commute to work or pay for a dog walker has saved us a lot of money each month, on top of cooking at home and not taking any vacations or trips — and I know that money could have easily been spent away without even knowing where it went but instead was saved/spent with more intention.
I know we are certainly in a very privileged position to get to be saving now, but I also know a lot of side effects of 2020 has allowed us to do so. So thank you, 2020!
A traditional sore spot of mine is doing a bad job at staying in touch with far-away friends and family. But the normalization of virtual meetings, FaceTime calls, and chain texting brought me back in touch with loved ones near and far.
All of this time at home has slowed me down a lot, even giving me time to break out my stationary and get back in the groove of writing the occasional letter (I’ve become pen pals with my grandfather, which has been super fun).
I think most have seen 2020 as a super isolating year, which yes, it has been. But in some ways, it actually brought me closer to many, and the common thread of 2020 effecting every single one of us — albeit in a range of ways — has seemed to create a binding, shared experience as well. Now I know to just pour a large glass of wine and FaceTime my pals at a moment’s notice! You’ve been warned 😉
More broadly speaking, the pandemic isn’t all that left a heavy footprint on 2020. I would be remiss to not address the Black Lives Matter movement and its overdue outpouring into mainstream conversations. I personally felt shaken awake to how much more I need to be educating myself on anti-racism (this and this book have been monumental to my own self-education this year).
This is also the year where I hit my personal rock bottom as far as faith in American politics, and could not have been more relieved to see the results of our presidential election, which gave me (and so many others) much-needed restoration of hope for our future — another victory very much worth celebrating.
I hope my own reflections on 2020 helped illuminate some silver linings in your own 2020 journey as well. While 2021 isn’t set to look much different, at least for the foreseeable future, I do believe it will be onwards and upwards friends!
Cheers — xx.
image is from one of my favorite 2020 memories: the marriage of our very good friends on the beaches of Montauk NY. It was only a handful of us in attendance (General Gazpacho included!) and was truly the most special, intimate event I’ve ever been to – I’ll remember it fondly forever.