Hiiii friends! How are you? How was the weekend? I hope you had a great one! We had our first *full* weekend in a long time and it felt awesome. I was so happy to get to go to a couple of parties and have an amazing dinner with friends.
I’m an oddly superstitious person, so I didn’t ever want to indicate that I started to feel hopeful after an underlying stress and terror for the past year. I’m always worried about jinxing anything. I also fully recognize the fact that while things feel a bit better here in the US, it’s not the case in other countries all over the world.
But here we are, 15 months later, and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned in the past year plus. I feel like it will always feel *too soon* to unpack everything that’s happened, but here are some of the things I’ve learned or realized. I’d love to hear anything that’s on your mind this week or something you’ve learned, if you feel like sharing in the comments below.
1. Sometimes simple is better. When the world first shut down, I was SO stressed about the thought of keeping the kiddos entertained all day. I didn’t want them to feel worried, so I tried to keep us as busy as possible indoors, which probably wasn’t the best strategy. I’ve told this story here on the blog before, but I had a spreadsheet with different activities or fun things we could do. After about 30 days, I felt super burned out. I told the kids to go outside and play with the hose, and they spent a couple of hours outside laughing and playing.
We focused on the simple things and the kids truly learned to entertain themselves over the past year. We do things as a family, but I feel like I don’t have to have constant structured activities planned (thank goodness). One of my favorite memories was tent weekend – we’d sleep in a tent in the living room over the weekend and it was a way to signal that the weekend was here when every day felt the same.
I also love our afternoons and evenings at the pool – it was such a lifesaver last summer and will undoubtedly be one this summer.
2. Being outside is my favorite thing. I don’t think I truly realized how much I love walks outside and hikes until this past year. I feel like fresh air makes such a huge difference in how I feel, and it’s a bonus nice way to get out the kids’ crazies before bedtime. I take at least one walk each day, sometimes solo and sometimes with the kids, and it gives me a mental reset.
3. I learned how to paint cabinets and how to do some home improvement projects! We completed some fun house projects in the past year (and have more on the way) and our cabinets look SO much better now.
4. Therapy is incredible… but online therapy isn’t my fave. Therapy has gotten me through some really hard times in my life and I’m the biggest advocate of therapy. My therapist here in Tucson is an angel, but I had to stop seeing her because I was helping Liv with distance learning during all of her available appointment times. I FINALLY booked an appointment when the kids went back to school and it was virtual, which made me feel more isolated and alone than I did before our call. It just felt so awkward to be talking about such heavy things (particularly losing Bella) through a screen. I think it magnified the weirdness of the whole situation and I’m looking forward to the day when I can book an in-person appointment again. Some things are better in person, but some things are pretty awesome online, which brings me to my next one:
5. Online fitness classes are amaaaazing. Yes, there’s nothing like having a real-life instructor push and motivate you, but there’s also something magical about working out in your pajamas and not having to commute or find childcare. I think the boom in online fitness is here to stay, and I’m also thankful that the online fitness world has enabled me to share workouts and fitness plans with friends all over the world.
6. Grocery delivery and curbside pickup can last forever, thank you. I’ve saved so much money by not setting foot in Target lol. (I’ve proven this theory because I recently went back and the impulse buys were out.of.control.) It’s so easy to order everything in the app and pick it up. It saves me from impulse purchases in a serious way, and I also love the convenience of grocery delivery.
7. This is the year I really learned how to garden. I’d planted some little herbs and greens did fairly well this summer, but this year, I WENT FOR IT. It’s been so much fun to go outside and pick veggies and greens for our salads. They’ll prob die in the July heat, but for now, I’m living it up. (The guinea pigs are enjoying their daily salad buffet, too.)
8. Relationships ebb and flow and that’s ok. Some relationships became closer over the past year, while others drifted away a bit, and it’s part of life. I feel like the obvious growth and fading of certain relationships was more obvious in the past year than others.
9. I learned how much I enjoy reading, especially when I make it a priority. I’ve been holding strong at my goal of at least 3 books per month and want to stick with it going forward.
10. I learned sometimes it’s worth doing anything that brings you a tiny bit of joy. Over the past year, I’ve had to find pockets in my day to do something that I enjoyed and gave me a boost to keep going, especially when the Pilot was traveling so frequently and I was here solo with the girls. A hot shower, a book, a takeout dessert, a glass of wine, a mindless show, a short meditation session, 30-minutes in the sauna blanket, or a call with someone all gave me things to look forward to.
11. I have an entirely new level of gratitude for our family. Our family has really rallied together during this time, and I’m thankful that we were in Tucson this year. I think it would have been really hard to be somewhere else without family, like so many of my military friends have experienced this past year.
12. I learned how to do an awesome cinnamon roll bun for Liv’s dance competitions. 🙂
13. Wine delivery is a thing and it’s awesome.
14. I learned new things about the kids and what they enjoy. Leading up to this year, I had no clue that they would love board games and puzzles as much as they do. They learned new skills over the past year, too. Liv got her aerial, P learned how to ride a two-wheeler last spring and swim like a fish, and I feel like despite the circumstances, we still had so many great adventures together.
(Loved renting an RV for my birthday!)
15. Even though I’m an introvert, I learned how much I need and enjoy human connection and interaction. I’ve missed hosting dinner parties and having people over so much (thankfully the family has still come over), but am really looking forward to some summer get-togethers with everyone.
So, tell me, friends: what’s something you learned over the past year? Do you feel like the same person you were a year ago??