Won’t you join me in a shift of perspective?

I have read and listened to so many people say they do not wish to remember or celebrate 2020 – everyone simply is trying to erase and move on as quickly as possible to a ‘normal’ 2021. Since we have just turned the calendar year to 2021, I wanted to reflect on the meaningful takeaways and connections I experienced in 2020 precisely because the Pandemic mandated that we shift our behaviors and assumptions. My hope is that you too can reflect on 2020 and pick out lessons learned and insightful “aha’s” that came amidst the chaos of the year so that you can move forward wiser and more centered.

Early in the pandemic, my husband and I came to realize that we had little control of the unfolding events that compromised our ability to work, canceled our once in a lifetime cooking school trip to France, canceled most of the activities we looked forward to every year and took the simple pleasure of eating out, off the table. Though we did not have to juggle children’s education, we had to juggle budgets, expectations, and our lives to adapt to a new normal of being homebound and having planned events constantly canceled based on the spread of Covid both within our state and internationally.

It could have gone 1 of 2 ways: We could be angry and defiant or embark on a new path of deepening our relationship and rolling with the waves. We chose the latter. We scaled back our spending, searched for paper products and meat like everyone else, checked in on family and friends and started grocery shopping for at-risk families. We created a schedule that kept us engaged and focused on results. We found activities that we could do and routinely scheduled outdoor time. I signed up for a lot of online training in my field while we were following ‘shelter in place’ orders and Don worked his artistic side and created some really beautiful furniture. We planted and grew a wonderful vegetable garden and shared the abundance with those in our circle.

At night, we set an intentional table. Nice music, well presented meals and candles. We gave thanks for what we had and talked. We took the time to create intentional joy and deepen our partnership. It was, and continues to be wonderful.

What we discovered through all of this was that we could choose to control our attitude and be creative to make our time meaningful and memorable for years to come. We had losses and missed spending time with our family and friends in person. That was a challenge, but we helped others in our community, and I did a lot of cooking that we shared with others. It was a year of quiet relationship building and recalibration for us. Covid19 slowed our world down to the point that I got to spend real quality time with my husband and recalibrate my goals and values without the noise of our typical life and hectic client schedule. I believe my husband and I are better for having experienced a year of suspended expectations and a refocus on what is really important to us. As we come out of this Pandemic, we will be changed for the better and more reflective. We remain grateful and look forward to a positive 2021 with family and our community.

Can you identify 1 or 2 lessons learned or things that you are grateful for in 2020? Focus on these things and bring them forward on your journey. Never throw your time or experiences away. It is all valuable and it gives us the opportunity to choose our responses and create a more meaningful and joyful life moving forward. Happy 2021.

Won’t you join me Thanksgiving 2020? 

Like most everyone else’s T-Day plans, ours have been revised twice in the last 3 months based on the spread of Covid19. Typically, we would be traveling to a big family gathering in Chicago with enough food to feed a small army, mouthwatering treats and robust conversations. Two months ago, we simplified that plan to staying with my 91-year-old Aunt to celebrate a much-toned down day and give her healthcare workers the day off. Last week, we called her to share that we were not comfortable putting her (and us) at risk based on the recommendations of infectious disease doctors and the rapid rise of infections and hospitalizations in both states.  We had not missed a year since the late 70’s. Now what? For my immediate family, the Chicago gathering has always been more anticipated than Christmas because of the comradery of all the cousins, conversations and activities. This year, it is just the 2 of us. Doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving. It feels like a loss of connection with family and others. The question became: Could we create that feeling of real thanks and community that we have gotten EVERY Thanksgiving despite Covid19?  The answer is a resounding YES.  

The glue to our Thanksgiving has always been in the act of sharing, caring and getting caught up. It’s just going to look different this year with only the 2 of us.  

We have decided to share our gratitude and put it in action. I have reached out to my single and fragile clients and a couple of elderly people we know from church asking if they have family support and a prepared meal on Thanksgiving Day. My husband and I will be making a large meal that we can package up and deliver fresh and with smiles and a check in.  

This simple act is very empowering and takes the sting out of not having our traditional day. We will still have plenty of time to Skype, Facetime & call our extended family across the miles; and we will feel fulfilled in our efforts by bringing joy and hope to those outside our typical circleI also hope to put a few bags together for any homeless we might encounter on our delivery route. 

So, if your Thanksgiving isn’t going to look anything like your original plans and you are feeling depressed or out of sorts, won’t you join me in looking for those outside of your typical circle and see how you can support them with a meal, special treat or a checkin call?  Imight make all the difference to them and it could allow you to connect to your community in a new deeper way. I wish you a fulfilling Thanksgiving experience. 

It’s Time To Let It Go  

As so many, during Covid19, we have been streamlining our home environment. I asked my husband a few weeks ago what he was willing to let go. What you have to know about my husband is that he is meticulous in his care of things. Everything is in like-new condition.  

One of the things he offered was a beautiful high-end juicer. Clean and in the box with the original packaging, recipe book and original cash register receipt. I remember when we were together at Costco and he got it. It was a quality product at a great price and would help support a healthy lifestyle. I agreed. But because it took a lot of space and he traveled for work quite a bit, it was kept in the basement.  You can see the upshot coming I think he used it twice.  

 The good news is that it was easy to list on a local sales app as I had everything needed to make a beautiful and visually compelling listing. The challenging news is that it sold for only 25% of the original purchase price.  The surprising news was what I saw on the receipt before I handed off the box to the happy new owner: I finally looked at the purchase date. January 10, 2010. It has literally been taking up valuable storage space for more than a decade. Where did that time go???? If you had asked me to approximate the purchase date, I would have said maybe 5 or 6 years.  

 My point is that time goes more quickly than we think, and we often allow things to stay in our lives long past their usefulness to us. Some of my clients have difficulty letting go of items they have bought or acquired because the items are still ‘good’ or ‘useful’.   

 Life gets better and more refined when we have the clarity to let go of the things that take space and are not actively adding benefit to our lives. We buy something thinking it’s a great idea, but it turns out that the idea was better than the reality. When that happens, can you revisit those items and make a new decision to let them go regardless of the purchase price?  

 My husband (fiancée at the time) spent $100, used the item only twice yet continued to house it for more than a decade. This is not about him making a poor decision or leading a unhealthy lifestyle. It was a ‘close to home’ aha moment for me. A decade of nonuse on the shelves I often walk past. It tied up money, space and time without benefit to ANYONE. We had literally stopped seeing it on the shelf. When we really looked at it again, we were good to let it go to someone who would actually put it to use. If it did not sell within another week, we were both willing to donate it to get our space back and free up our minds.  

 We have not stopped there. Don and I have been reviewing a number of idle items and we are successfully posting and parting with outdated things. We feel great and are looking to further simplify. Sometimes it is difficult in the moment but once you embrace keeping only what supports the lifestyle and activities that you are working toward, it is freeing and money saving. I hope this encourages you to reevaluate your possessions and to let things go that are no longer a good fit.  Remember, it’s not about if the item still has value or is useful. It’s about how those items are actually serving you. Remove the guilt and set your sights on a brighter future. Re-home those things that no longer are used or loved. If you need help, connect, I’m WithinReach.biz