The Year: 2020
The Setting: Home.
Have any of us really been away from our homes for too long during this year? After March, everything changed. Things are still changing. And we have had to be as adaptable as possible in our jobs, how we teach our children, how we prioritize our daily life. Even down to what we wear out in public for "just the necessities."
In the spring, we all started looking around our homes while sheltering in place, in search of ways to improve or spruce up a room here and there. Many people turned to improvement projects for their outdoor spaces so there would be somewhere to go outside of the home while still in quarantine. Others tried their hand at intricate bread recipes, canning, and crafting. Some of us prepared for homeschooling and began searching for supplemental learning tools for the little ones who would be home.
As for me, I turned to blogging, rearranging a spare bedroom to create a makeshift classroom for virtual learning. I wanted my daughter's room to still be a space for her to unwind and relax away from a day of school work and a computer screen. I made a point to find 5 minutes to myself to sit in the sunshine daily for a moment of gratitude and fresh air. Always looking for a silver lining.
When most of the west coast was staying indoors, it made more time for us to connect with our family and friends with the help of video calling. Something we didn't do enough of when we were all busy with our daily lives. When my husband was off work after non-essential businesses took their pause, it gave us time together to reflect and plan for the next best moves for our future.
An then much later in the year, an opportunity for my husband presented itself and we knew we wanted the next adventure. Pandemic or not.
So we moved across the country - made our way through five states and are putting our roots down in Missouri.
As far as the pandemic goes, we are still very aware of what we need to do to protect others while also doing our best to keep ourselves healthy. Much like we did back in our previous state.
We have been busy getting into our new routines. My daughter gets to attend school in person just down the street, my husband is a rock star in his new position working long days but coming home happy. I have busied myself with getting our home space in functioning order. Firstly my office - the most used room; the kitchen a very close second. I have everything I need at my desk, easily accessible: my planner, pens, pencils, ruler, calculator, phone charger, lamp, my favorite mug, and an extra screen. On my chair I keep a small pillow and a thick throw blanket for when it gets a little chilly. I have a magnetic board hung on the wall to keep notes and pictures drawn by my daughter. I have more family pictures and an artistic framed quote that reminds me of my younger self: "For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." - Van Gogh
Our family pictures in a collage on the wall in every home we've lived in absolutely makes the living space automatically feel all the more welcoming once they are up. It takes me an hour or two each time to plan the layout of all my canvas and frames. Never hung in the same pattern twice. My couches always have a colorful rotation of throw pillows and blankets. And we like to light scented candles to make the house smell fresh when you walk in.
With all of the house things settled, and mostly unpacked or in its place, I can focus more on being productive in other ways.
Working from home has been a smooth adjustment for my role with Artizara. I am able to create content for emails and blog posts, I can edit product images and still offer input where it is needed no matter the location I am in. Our team has become much more fluent with our online communication channels and we are able to work together with our other members from any time zone or country. How cool is that?
Most days my work attire is a comfortable pair of leggings or pants with stretch and a modest tunic top appropriate for video meetings. It's been chilly most days so I like to layer on big squishy socks or sturdy slippers with my long, modest tops. But I'd swap the leggings for jeans and tall boots when going out in the Midwest cold. I've noticed my skin is happier because I hardly wear makeup on screen which in turn boosts my confidence to be bare-faced and natural. And this extends to when I'm in public now as well. I don't feel as pressured to put on more than mascara. Wearing a mask when I go out saves my face powder and lip gloss supply. I'll take those silver linings while I can.
Although this year has been unlike any other for most of us, I am grateful for the time we had to reflect, for the opportunity to start a new adventure in a new state, for rekindling longtime friendships with people who have been my champions since we were children, and getting to be involved in educating my child (even though many parents out there felt so unprepared to tackle that task). I think this year has shown us what our basic values should be, that our health and well-being is a priority. And that it's ok to slow down. Check in with your people. Make memories at home. Tell the stories of your childhood because for most of us, they didn't include a worldwide pandemic.
One day when we get back to some semblance of normalcy, we will compare our new timeline to the time we were in quarantine, we'll take a deep unmasked breath, and wish for another set of do-nothing days.