Episode 167: 2021 Year in Review
Hello. Hello. Welcome back to Live Free Creative Podcast. This is the last episode of 2021. You’re listening to Episode 167. This is my year in review.
I am really excited to just do a quick look back at my year, and I hope that you will follow my lead and do something similar for yourself. The holiday season is often a very busy, exciting time, and even if it’s not busy, even if you’re being really present, oftentimes you want to do just that be really present. And I think that there is so much to be set for just maintaining that peace of mind and being in the moment during the season. I also have found that one of the best ways for me to get a clear picture about where I am and where I want to go heading into the new year is to take a look back at what I have been through.
I will say that 2021 was a year that changed me in lots of ways. I didn’t know that things could get weirder or more difficult than 2020, and 2021 pushed me to my limit. Do any of you feel that way? I think that we kind of got used to rolling our eyes about 2020, and then expected something maybe a little bit more out of 2021. And it ended up for a lot of people being equally, if not more challenging than before.
As I sat down to record this episode, I flipped through my calendar, which is what I usually do when I want to get an overview picture of my year. I pull out my Golden Coil planner. You could do the same thing, looking through your photo, roll on your phone or anything that just sort of, that you mark time with that you sort of keep track of things with.
It works well for me to go month by month through my Golden Coil and look at not only what I had written down and what I had planned, but also what happened because oftentimes I’ll, as things are changing, I’ll cross them off and move them over or I’ll go back and edit through because what I had intended didn’t end up and we switched things around. So there’s a lot of my planner is not edited. It’s very messy and it’s all useful. That ends up being helpful at the end of the year, when I want to do a little inventory of what has gone on before I opened up my Golden Coil, I sat down at the microphone and I getting, you know, all of the software and things ready to record. And I did a brief check in with my head, what happened this year.
And I was like, I don’t even know the only things that came to mind were, I remember that we put in the turf because that has been such a game changer and we’ve loved it. And I remember as I was kind of searching through what else, like significant happened this year that I lost my voice, and I didn’t have a voice for almost three months.
And that now that my voice is returned, feels like a million years ago, but that was just a few months ago. It’s so easy for us to lose track of things, even things that were really impactful at the time or things that we may be able to glean a little something from. So I love the idea of going through and just doing an inventory for yourself. And I always love hearing these overviews from other people kind of what they were up to the highs and lows and good, good, bad and ugly of their year. And so I thought that I would jump on and share mine.
Segment: Odd Jobs
Before I begin, I want to share a little segment. I call odd jobs:
You know, it’s fun when I thought I had gone through all my odd jobs. And then in 2021, I got a new job. I had almost forgotten when I through my calendar. I remembered that I spent four months of this year working as a vaccination nurse for CVS. This was a very interesting job at a very interesting time.
Although I have kept my registered nurse license current since 2008, when I graduated from nursing school, I and worked as a nurse in about seven years. And I was thrilled to be able to take on this position and work giving vaccines at the very kind of early stages when they were tiered right now in America, at least vaccines are fairly readily available for anyone who wants that. I know it’s not the same all over the world. However, at this time back in February, when I was hired, you couldn’t get a vaccine unless you were over the age of 70.
And then they slowly started lowering that age and making it more available and distributing it a little bit differently. It was a wild time when I first started, we had appointments, they had a scheduled appointment every five minutes during eight to 10 hour shift. So I would give about 200 vaccines during one shift and people would come in and be just lined down or, you know, wrapped around the store. I’ve never seen people more excited, ecstatic to receive an injection. I learned how to mix both of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and did a little injection refresher after a few years of not working as a nurse. It’s kind of nice to do a quick refresher.
I mean, it’s kind of like riding a bike. You don’t forget some things. So, and giving injections is actually not all that difficult. It was really interesting to have a hundred, 200, two minute conversations, have someone sit in the chair after spending months in, you know, virtual isolation and staying home and being inside a lot.
Do you remember this? I mean, even just this time, last year, we were trying to avoid any sort of crowd. We didn’t have an available vaccine yet. And so, so interesting to think that February/March went from having very little contact with anyone outside of my family, to sitting down with over a hundred strangers. Every time I worked to have a quick conversation, everyone was wearing masks that I got to look in their eyes. I got to reconnect with my community and with these people, I’m getting choked up because it was so incredible. The feeling of anticipation, the feeling of celebration. I got to hear so many small stories. I sat down with patients who had recently lost loved ones and were so thrilled to be able to get their vaccine and yet so sad that it had come too late. For some of those whom they had loved.
I would sort of laugh with some of these big strong patients who for all outward appearances would have no problem at all, having an, a small injection and would sit down and express how nervous they were to have this little poke, especially, especially funny patients who had multiple tattoos and clearly were not needle phobic in general, who said, oh, I’m really worried. I’m not going to look. And I said, don’t worry about it. You know, I’ll be quick.
I got outer space themed band aids that I brought to all of the different locations that I worked so that I could stick kind of a fun novelty band aid on any in tone and have it be exciting. Although the shifts were long and the work was continuous, I was thrilled to be there. And I went home feeling accomplished and feeling buoyed up in a time that had been really difficult globally and a time that had been really difficult.
Personally, I worked from February until June, and it was just this hot season of getting through to where the end of June when I finished up my last shift vaccines were available for everyone. I was able to give one to my 12 year old. It was this real climax in the distribution and a job opportunity that I will be forever grateful for and a memory this moment, just really, I moment in time that I never would’ve expected, but that I was so happy to be able to participate in that my friends is my 20, 21 odd job.
2021 Year In Review
I am going to just go through my year as this recap and month by month walk through some of the highlights and some of the difficult things that I went through. And again, I want to encourage you to follow my lead and to do this, do a walk through your year with your family. I had a couple episodes ago with Vanessa Quigley. We talked about having remember when dinner, when you sit down, answer some questions together. I think this could be a really great exercise to do by yourself or with a partner or a good friend to do it on your own, go through your calendar or go through your photo library. And what I did, I just wrote down each of the months and then wrote a couple notes next to each one, just to get a kind of, of an overview. And I will tell you that as I went through this process, just in, you know, in the last few minutes for myself, I remembered things that I would’ve forgotten.
Remember that things are temporary.
I felt so much gratitude, even for the hard things that I came through. Even for some hard things that were still going through because of the ability to see from the top down from this kind of wider perspective of looking at a year at once, having this kind of global perspective of the whole year and seeing that things that felt endless are temporary and that some things that you could never have imagined popped into your life just at the time that you needed them. And that despite, you know, I look back at my year and you’ll hear about it, but I look back and think there were so many times that I’ve thought, gosh, we, we haven’t even been able to do as much as we wanted this year, or I am so excited to get traveling again, you know, even with this Christmas trip that we’ve been planning since I keep thinking, oh, I’m so glad to like go on a trip.
And I look back at my year and I’m like, I, I traveled every single month this year, even on small things, but I was, I was out traveling a lot, despite the pandemic, I was able to travel safely so many times throughout the year, especially as the months got warmer, we, you know, we all kind of went outside more.
And I look back at my year, even a really tough year, like this last one with gratitude and with pride and with hope for the future, that even a really hard year can feel like a success. So walk with me down memory lane. As I tell you a little bit about my 2020 year in review.
In January, I hosted live free from clutter, which is coming up in January, 2022. Now renamed Decluttered. This masterclass is an incredible opportunity for me to connect with members of this community who want some specific teaching advice and coaching with regards to clearing space in their lives and their homes and heads and their hearts and on their schedules for things that matter most to them.
I loved the experience of guiding a group through this program, and I’m looking forward to it again, coming up in this next new year, quick, shout out to registration, being open for that right now. So if you’ve now that you’ve come through the holidays in, you’re interested in it in jumping into decluttered, you can go to the show notes and register right there. It’s going to be amazing.
So Live Free From Clutter kicked off and I also drew up plans for my little free library. I started this year thinking I definitely want to add a little free library in front of our house. And I drew the plans for it, got an idea in my planner so that I could get started in January. I was still homeschooling my kids. I was feeling that slow crawl though, that happens at the end of something that has been fun and hard.
And January was probably our last real month of true intentional time spent homeschooling. I kind of had a slow fade after that part of that has to do with my depression, that I didn’t recognize until early February.
I had just canceled a birthday trip that I had been looking forward to and taught to my doctor about the way that I was feeling and was able to start on a prescription depression SSRI, a serotonin uptake inhibitor that helped so much, and being able to just acknowledge that I was struggling and that I needed help was difficult and so wonderful at the same time, instead of going on my trip to Mexico, I hosted my own Mexico day at home. And there is a full blog post about that. If you’re curious about having a vacation at home and having it actually feel like a vacation, it was a really fun experience despite being semi disappointing that I wasn’t actually out in Mexico.
We also did a family pizza crawl in February, which is so fun. We got pizza from six local pizza restaurants. We didn’t get it from chain restaurants. We got ’em from local places around Richmond. We had split up so that we could bring the pizza back hot. And we tried all the different slices and we rated them and came up with our favorite pizza restaurants and the favorite pizza that they have. And we have referred to that all year long.
In March. I planted my seeds for my garden. This was my second year with my raised beds, my backyard kitchen garden. And I was excited to try a few new varieties. They did. Okay. Those seeds, I will tell you didn’t do as well as my winter sewing that I had done last year, but some of them survived and did really great.
I also was super excited. I did to teach an indigo dying workshop in person at a local coworking center. They hired me, it’s called Common House. It’s really cool. They hired me to come teach and it was the first time that I had done an in person workshop in a year. And again, just kind of these little tiny bits of what felt like more normal life. It felt so relieving. We were all masked up and we were socially distant. You know, we had six feet in between every table and it still just felt so nice to be in community. This is when I was finished with training and started shifts as a vaccine nurse.
And this is also when we stopped homeschooling. It was March. It was earlier than the end of the school year. And we were done. It was just sort of a, a fizzle at the end while I think our homeschooling experience was really fun and unique. It also was definitely more than I was able to cope with on my own and handle having all of the kids home all of the time had. Then one of the things I think that I emotionally just wasn’t able to cope with the way that I hoped to. And that’s okay.
I know that there’s lots of you out there who feel like that would push you to the point of your, you know, of your sanity to not have any time to be on your own, or to be able to pursue your own hobbies or tasks. And I think the combination of starting depression, medication, being able to get that job where I was working on something very specific and focused outside of my home and also releasing homeschool and saying, you know what? My kids are going to be fine and releasing the guilt of, of what, what if, what if they have to catch up or what if they’re are so behind and just acknowledging that everyone’s going to be behind, we’re going to be, we’re going to be fine, was a weight off of my shoulders.
It started to warm up. We spent a couple weeks in Utah in April, in April. I hosted Creative Camp in Southern Utah, gathered together with an incredible group of women entrepreneurs. And we were working on writing. We were working on journaling. There were women there just taking a break who just wanted to take that time to rest and to read and to connect with themselves. And with the other women, it was a beautiful experience. And I’m really looking forward to using the same venue. Again, this coming year, this coming April will be back in Southern Utah for Creative Camp, Deep Work Retreat. I am so looking forward to it. I love that space. I loved being in the desert. I loved being in the sunshine. It was very healing. And after creative camp, I was able to stay on with the kids. Of course, because we had stopped homeschooling.
We tossed that out and we spent time with family. We were able to go hiking in Moab. I took my kids to Arches National Park for the first time. Magic. One of the most beautiful places that I remember from my childhood that just like that rock just runs so deep in my soul. I feel like so many of my favorite childhood memories were crawling around on the sandstone in Southern Utah. And it was really fun to be able to share that with my kids in April. I also got a new tattoo. I met with a couple of my sisters and we got tattoos based on some ride that my grandmother had done in a notebook. My tattoo is on my inner arm, and it says love freely in her handwriting, which felt really special, a fun way to remember her, a beautiful sentiment and also a fun thing to do with my sisters.
In April we also hired a contractor for our garage, and I think this is an interesting thing to note because as the year goes on, I mean we’re in December and there is no garage. So you can see that that is one project that did not go at all as planned because we had not been approved for a permit. So that was way back when it, we started to feel the push of our house after spending 18 months all home, all together.
We adopted kitties in March too. So we had the new kitties. We had the dog, we had the chickens, my kids were getting a little bit bigger. We had spent so much time together and we were feeling like our house is just feeling a little squishy. We like small space living, but too small living is really difficult. So we had started to pursue a garage project, which is which so far has not materialized, but that’s when we started in may sunny, beautiful may we installed our artificial turf in our backyard.
And that was a project that we had been thinking about for a long time and five were able to pull together. It was so fun to work with a local contractor to kind of half DIY it. We hired a Mason to prepare the ground itself. Funny enough, if any of you are interested in artificial turf, you prepare the ground the same way that you do for pavers or like a paver patio. So we hired our Mason who done our paver patios in our yard to prepare the area. And then because he had never done turf, we collaborated with him. I bought the turf wholesale from a local landscape company. It was delivered. We rolled it out together, nailed it in, glued it together, cut around the edges, trimmed it up and it looks amazing. It was one of our favorite investments of the year. And we have used it just tirelessly all year. It’s been so fun. It even got a mention on my Christmas card, which is a little weird. I know, but it was a great investment.
I spent a weekend in Austin, Texas. Austin is one of my, my soul cities. And I was able to spend a weekend there connecting with some of my sister, friends, who I met when I lived there and who I just love so dearly again, that was so healing to after kind of, you know, many, many months of not feeling like myself, a combination of the pandemic and depression. It was so nice to feel reconnected to myself by spending time with people who know and love me. If any of you have been having a hard time and you haven’t had that connection, I want to encourage you to, to seek out some of those people who know you and love you.
It helps me come home to myself when I am able to be with friends, especially, I mean, of course my family is such a great support system and there’s something about, about these good friends, good old friends who can just lighten your heart. That was such a fun trip. And a quick weekend in May. Also my sister moved out to spend the summer with us. She was sort of my answer to the prayer of please don’t leave me alone with these kids any longer. I need some help. And my youngest sister had just graduated from college and agreed to come help me and to allow me to have some work hours and some regular break time. And she lived in our little clubhouse. Luckily we had renovated the clubhouse last year. So she was able to live in the clubhouse and help me with the kids.
And also just spend time together. It was really fun. She’s 14 years younger than me. And by the time she was all enough to really get to know as like a, a person like a teenager. I had graduated, gotten married and moved away. So this summer was a really incredible time to connect with her as adult women. And she was so helpful and so delightful to spend time with, we also joined a local pool in May and this is significant because we knew that we weren’t going to be around, you know, the whole summer that we had travel plans for the summer. And one of my goals, something that I recognized during the pandemic was that I wanted some good friends here in the city. I had lots of acquaint and a few smattering of friends, but I just felt like I needed a couple people, like at least a person that could be a good friend.
And I knew that one way to do that, taking my own advice way back in the, you know, the first handful of episodes. I did an episode about how to make friends as an adult. And one of the pieces of advice that I gave was to put yourself out there to be in places where other people are to invite people, to do things and to spend time out with people, not expect that friends will come knocking at your door while after 18 months of being home. And you know, the year before that having in a renovation and a flood and all of these different circumstances that made making regular friends difficult, Dave and I looked at each other and said, people are going to be at the pool. Let’s join the pool so that when we go, we can interact with people whose kids go to the same school as ours who live nearby us.
And we may be able to forge some friendships, some good adult, local friendships, that way spoiler alert. It was wonderful. And one of the women who I consider one of my greatest friends here in Richmond right now was a friend that I connected with at the pool this summer, just by sitting on lounge chairs, nearby each other and getting to chat and watch our kids play and slowly getting to know each other and recognizing that we are similar in a lot of ways. And we like a lot of the same things and our families get along. It’s been really, really fun to make a new friend.
In June Dave and I took a weekend to go to Boston just for fun because we had a babysitter <laugh> with Maddie living here in the clubhouse, we said, let’s find a cheap plane ticket and just get out of town together.
We lived in Concord, New Hampshire at the beginning of our marriage. And so spending some time in Boston felt really familiar, very easy to navigate and was really lovely. One of my favorite experiences in June was mushroom foraging. I took the kids and Mattie with a local guide and we went and saw several different kinds of mushrooms where they grow, saw him popping up through the, the crumbling leaves at the bottom of the forest. It was really delightful. And we’ve talked about it all year long.
June was the end of my registered nurse work. And while it had been so wonderful life was beginning to feel a little bit more full. Things felt like they were easing up. My kids were definitely not in school. I had Maddie to help. And so it was really actually perfect timing to put that secondary role down and be able to refocus on my business, get ready for what was coming up in July grown up summer camp, which was something that I hadn’t ever done before.
And also Eliot celebrated his birthday in June. And he had at the same time finished the Harry Potter series and we made a deal with our kids. I know some of you do this as well, that if they read the entire Harry Potter series, when they finish the final book, we will take them to visit Harry Potter world. I think it’s called the Wizarding world of Harry Potter. Whenever I say Harry Potter world Eliot corrects me. It was really fun that he set himself the goal to be finished by his birthday so that he could celebrate his birthday there. And it was just a very quick trip, just mom, dad, and Eliot. It was really fun to do a one on two trip with him. He’s our middle one. And I grew up a middle child and remember feeling a little bit lost in the phrase sometimes. And I’m sure that Eliot feels that way too.
So it was really a good reminder to get to know him as an individual. As of course, we want to, with all of our kids, a good reminder to spend that one-on-one time with our kids, whether it’s on a weekend trip or whether it’s just on one-on-one dates that we can do in town during the weeks that getting to know them and the things that they’re interested in and being interested in those things, because they’re interested in them is really sort of, kind of like a magical key to relationships and, and parenting. I discovered on that trip to see the world through his eyes was really fascinating and very fun.
In July my in-laws came to visit and we sent Milo off on his first overnight camp. He spent a week backpacking in the wilderness of Virginia. The program reminded me a little bit of what I had done as a wilderness counselor, except that I was working with students who were working on addiction and other types of recovery.
And this is a program simply to develop leadership and confidence and fun, sending him off without technology with a tent and a sleeping bag and a pocket knife and a group of counselors to backpack and hike and set up camp and rock climb, and canoe. It was really, really cool for him and cool for us to hear about. I also really fell in love with the venue out in Western Virginia. And you never really hear people talking about Western Virginia, but it’s, I guess, Western of where I live at least. And it, I fell in love with the area, which is where I am planning on hosting summer camp. This coming July in 2022, grown up summer camp will be there.
And also in July of this year, 2021, I hosted Grown-Up Summer Camp, which was a feat 40 women gathered on the banks of the bear river up in Idaho at Maple Grove, Hot Springs.
We did yoga and we crafted and played in the water. And we soaked in the hot springs. We did book club discussions and talked about motherhood, talked about priorities, talked about rituals. We star-gazed and we sang. And it was exactly what I hoped for… and a ton of work. And I got super sick because I think the lead up and then the crash of, you know, how, when you spend a lot of time and effort on something and then it starts, you’re kind of like your body can do the letdown. And that’s when I got super sick. So I really enjoyed camp.
And I was really sick during camp, which is when I lost my voice leading to what then became months of vocal cord paralysis, super unexpected, very random. I have to just give a plug for Grown-Up Summer Camp, being everything that I hoped for and more, and my excitement, all of the things that I learned from that experience and gathering with those incredible women, recognizing how much we really gain from investing just a few days in ourselves.
We reconnected with ourselves with each other, with nature. We were able to pour some love into each of us as individuals and get to feel special, feel taken care of, feel that love and peace for who we are and where we are in our respective journeys. And then be able to take all of that fulfillment and fullness that, that fullness home with us, to our families. I think it was a really incredible time while I was in Utah.
I spent some time in Lake Powell with my family voiceless. I came back to Virginia and quickly turned around and spent weekend celebrating my friend Lena’s 40th birthday in San Diego…voiceless. Literally walked around with a microphone, like a headset with a little speaker. So that when I, we were sitting around the table with these, I think there were about 10 of us there, people could hear me and I could participate in the conversation.
This was so bizarre. And you can hear even right now, my voice is not 100% and it gets a little bit gravelly in different levels. And I’m so grateful that I have some of it back. It was around this time soon after coming home from San Diego, where I was diagnosed with vocal cord paralysis, that likely induced by the virus that I had had in July.
And in September, the beginning of September, I was able to undergo a vocal cord injection surgery, which I don’t know that I’ve shared a lot about here. It was absolutely terrifying. And one of the most difficult of moments, I mean, it was only like 20 minute experience, but I had what I would attribute as the close, closest thing to a panic attack that I have ever had myself that I ever like would note, I felt like when they numbed my throat, I was awake for this procedure so that I could make sounds and they could kind of tell the doctor could tell how the surgery was going.
And when he numbed my throat, my voice box, I, as I started to lose feeling in my throat, it felt like my throat was closing in. It felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore because I could no longer feel the air passing through my esophagus. And I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was stuck inside my own body and like I was going to suffocate.
And luckily Dave was there with me and he was able to, I got some ice so that I could just have some feeling. And I asked Dave to turn on some music. And then I used a technique that I used during my unmedicated labors, where I closed my eyes and just did a full visualization. I escaped my body through my mind. And I went to the ocean. I had just been in San Diego. And while I was there, I took a surf lesson with Lena’s fiancé, Sally.
And it was really an incredible experience. And there was a moment where we were just sitting out beyond the surf on our surfboards. And I saw these pelicans woot by above the waves. So while my throat feels like it has closed in, and I’m sitting, waiting for, you know, these other needles and injectables to go through my throat to heal my vocal cord, or at least prop it up while it heals itself, I closed my eyes and just breathed deeply and called upon all of the exercise of meditation that I’ve used throughout the last several years and visualized myself sitting on that surfboard. And I tried to make the visualization as clear as possible that I could feel the surfboard underneath my legs. And I could feel my legs moving gently through the water as the waves kind of gen swayed. And I could see these pelicans swooping above the crests of the waves, and they kind of travel in like a line together.
I could see the horizon behind me and I could see people out on the sand and I could feel the rise and the fall of the swells and sort of tried to tune my breath to the rise and the fall of the waves. And I extended this visualization for the 10-15 minutes of the procedure so that I could survive it. And luckily I did <laugh> he was able to get the filler injected into my paralyzed vocal cord, propping it up so that my voice could create sound again. And the idea that we don’t know yet, I’ll have another appointment in January, but the idea is that this gives my vocal cord time for the nerve to reconnect and kind of regenerate and heal itself. So as the filler dissolves, then hopefully I will continue to maintain my ability to.
In September, my kids went back to school for the first time in 18 months, it felt like a release of a breath that I had been holding.
And I am so grateful for our teachers and for our administrators and for our school district and for all of the decisions that they need to keep everyone safe. And also the decisions that they made to enable us to, to send our kids back. And my kids have had so far, the most wonderful school year. These last two quarter is the semester that we’ve had. They’ve had more fun and been more engaged and delighted by the classroom than I remember. They liked school before, and they love it. Now. I think that that break really caused their little school hearts to grow fond in September, Mattie moved back to Utah. We lost her right at the same time that my kids went back to school and I was able to sort of again, take a deep breath and sort of start to discover myself again in this sort of mid pandemic season, which has been very interesting.
in October Dave and I celebrated our 15-year anniversary. It’s one of those things that feels like I never didn’t know him and also has passed in the blink of an eye. We have a really great podcast episode, all about 15 lessons that we’ve learned in the last 15 years. I spent a week in Vermont preparing for and carrying out Creative Camp fall session, or this deep work retreat nestled in a cottage in a little valley in the peak foliage of new England’s autumn. It was beautiful, breathtaking, incredibly connectives, so magical. These deep work retreats are really sort of like it’s like taking some days out of real life and handing these women who attend hours of uninterrupted, focus of deep connection with each other and with themselves and with the work or rest that they’re pursuing. Incredible ability to mastermind and bounce ideas around with each other. And it was at this retreat where I started working on my essay for the master’s degree program that I decided to apply to that has felt like in a couple years of many, many questions that has felt like an answer and something that I’m very excited about right after creative camp, I turned around and flew out to Sun Valley, Idaho to spend a weekend a very quick weekend with my good friend, Rachel Nelson.
You may know her from 3 in 30 mom’s podcast. And I spent a weekend. We had spent months redesigning main floor, new hardware, some new lighting shelf styling, couch, living room, coffee table, all sorts of things in her main area. This isn’t a service that I normally offer to people. And she’s a really good friend. So when she asked for advice about design, I said, please let me help. My house is done. I can’t wait to help you with yours. So after a couple months of design work and pulling all of these sources, I flew out with plum who was able to spend the weekend with her daughter, Sally. And we did a full install. So we painted and installed some shelving and hardware and light, and we arranged the furniture and we styled the shelves. And it was so fun to spend that one-on-one time with a friend who I adore and have loved from afar.
You know, we have a great Instagram relationship. I spent a long time as one of her creative mentors helped her with some of her business. And she’s definitely been a mentor right back to me. And that was a fun kind of last minute and unexpected opportunity.
Dave and I spent the beginning of November in Costa Rica and we did lots of adventure and we also had a few days of just relaxation getting away and being able to spend that time after what had felt like a really crazy couple months. And it’s so funny, I look back now and think, wow, I had sort of just a lot going on all year. And I think that’s, you know, the nature of my personality and something that I really enjoy. And also something for me to pay attention to as I move forward into another year.
We were not planning on traveling for Thanksgiving. We had invited my parents out to spend the week with us, and instead they flipped the script and said that they would rather have us come out to spend time with them because the whole family was gathering together for the first time in a long time. So we spent a quick three days in Utah, the weekend before Thanksgiving and were able to connect with my whole family, all six of my siblings, their spouses and children. We had an epic corn hole tournament that was so fun. We played a lot of Rummikub, which is one of my favorite games.
I was able to go on some long, beautiful walks with my sisters and my kids just basically disappeared whole time. We were there, they were out playing with cousins. It’s one of the things that we love about living away. When we do get together with our family, our kids are thrilled. They’re over the moon by being able to maintain those relationships.
So we made it to December where Plum turned eight. We were able to have a really fun painting birthday party for her. I’ve been working on the relaunch of Decluttered and getting the behind the scenes ready to go and revamped for that program, which we kick off next week. If you’re listening right, when this episode comes out, actually it kicks off on January 10th. So the doors will close just before that they’re available right now.
And as you’re listening, the end of December, we are finalizing this year abroad on a trip that we had been planning for six months and are so grateful to have been able to make happen. What a year as I look back through some of the hardest times feeling like I really lost myself for a while, I, I felt so underground and unable to cope with the, just the daily activities of life.
This time last year, I mean, December, January, February, last year, I felt underwater and being able to get some help with that, some pharmacological help some help and support from family members and from friends and from my doctor. And then really starting to make some recognized that I needed to, to make some changes and to create space for myself and get a new job and go outside of the house and hire some help.
My word for this year was deep. The idea was that rather than adding a bunch of new things that I would try to live presently and dig deep into the things that I was already doing, my Decluttered course, and that masterclass that accompanies it, my Creative Work Retreats and the Grown-up Summer Camp, things that I had been thinking about and planning and have been working on for years, making them more engaging, making them more intensive and memorable and magical and meaningful.
I feel like I was able to do that, that I spent a lot of time feeling a little bit. It’s funny. I have written down in my mood page. There’s a couple times when I wrote down existential crisis about life successes. <Laugh> I mean, I definitely had for sure too, that I can remember very clearly calling friends and saying, I don’t even know what I’m doing with my life. Like I have all these things that I’m doing, but am I doing them because I love them or am I doing them just because I started them or, you know, at the end of the day, what my waters most what are the things that I’m using as measuring sticks that aren’t valid, that don’t actually mean anything. And what are the things that do mean something to me, I think being able to recognize more my core values, some of my strengths and weaknesses and learning to listen to personal desires, learning, to accept and be okay with what I want being different than what someone else might want.
Reflect with Grace and Compassion for Yourself
And the relief that comes from acknowledging that we’re not all going the same place. We’re not all headed the same direction. Our hopes and dreams and goals are different. And the, that is by divine design. We are supposed to be different. There isn’t a rule book that we’re all supposed to be living by. And we find so much more joy and fulfillment in our lives when we’re able to tune back into ourselves and to align the actions that we create, the decisions that we make with the pathway that we want to be walking.
I think as you look back on your year and you go month by month and acknowledge the good and the bad and the fun and the exciting and the hard and the terrible and the things that you would never go back to, and the things that you want to relive repeatedly, that you can start to recognize what lights you up, what makes you sad?
<Laugh> what do you want to fill your life more with, to the point that you’re able and what do you want to set down? Because it is simply too heavy or it’s simply not worth it. The insight that we find as we reflect at the end of the year, and we do our own personal recap is really enlightening. And I want to encourage you to spend some time this weekend in a recap of your own. It’s okay if you didn’t, you know, travel every month and host a bunch of different things and move the needle on this and that it’s okay. If the majority of your days were spent in the quiet, active activities of a beautiful, meaningful everyday life.
This one was, it was a hard one for me and for a lot of people. And it was also really beautiful and I’m really grateful for it. I can use some of the things that I learned and some of the decisions that I made in this year to point me in the direction that I want to be headed. As we move into 2021, as I’m choosing where to spend my time and energy and attention, as I’m learning more about myself and about my family, we have things that need to shift things that need to change things that need to grow and things that need to be put away.
I hope that as you’ve listened to the ups and downs of my year, that you’ve been able to think back on some of your own and at least have a pattern for doing recap going through your year and seeing what made a difference.
What did you love?
What do you want to continue with?
What are you ready to be done with?
If you want to begin your 2022 with a little bit of a reset, physical and emotional reset, Decluttered may be the right program for you. You can head to the show notes to find out all about it. The doors are open. We begin on January 10th. I want to help you rediscover additional time and money and energy and joy that you can use on the things that matter most to you. As we head into this new year, I hope that you had wonderful holidays. I wish you a very, very happy new year, and I will chat with you again next week. Same time, same place.