Happy 2021. Sorry for the lapse in blogging. Not sure what happened in December…Thankfully we are done with this car crash of a year. I know the calendar changing isn’t going to fix everything, but it sure feels like it might help. Remember back in March when I was writing what we can do to get through? Ha! ]Last night I made myself festive and wore a satin skirt with a sweater and my mom’s 1960’s crystal bracelet. I had to give my holiday clothes a whirl even if it was to eat pizza and sit by the fire and play a board game. It was my kind of NYE. I’m not a big late night girl, never have been. I’d much rather be tucked up in bed with a book.
As crappy as this past year has been, we have gotten stronger, more resilient, less selfish and I think smarter too. We have been gifted with the time to stop and realize what the heck really matters in this life. Slow living was thrust upon us and it isn’t all bad. Everything else kind of fell away and frankly, some of that was good – and needed.
At my house, with all of us home- the guys with school and work and one beginning a new job, in our small home it has not been easy. We have had our struggles here. It isn’t all rosy. Things have been rough for young people and the elderly this year because of the isolation. They are missing out on so many life milestones and older folks on the connections. Some are just done living and working in their rooms.
Lawrence Wright of the New Yorker wrote the amazing and well-researched article called The Plague Year, says a huge part of our failure fighting this virus is the inability of us all to come together and to treat it like the enemy, as we have during wars and other catastrophes. Can you imagine if we had done this? If every American had worn a mask and not socialized? Just those two things alone would have made all the difference.
The positives of this pandemic year are we had a lot more time with our spouses and kids. There have been so many great interactions with our neighbors who we usually do not see so much in a busy world. The good/bad is also with no commitments or events we have more time to do what we want, and the strain of must do’s has been lessened. The holiday season sure was a lot less stress!
We are living with doing less, but maybe finding joy in smaller things. In a tragic year, maybe this is how we find our way back to real meaning in life? We appreciate everything more, especially our health, the people in our lives and the little rituals that bring joy each day.
Highlights of my Covid year..
I fit in time to patch my grandmother’s jeweled tree from the 1960’s. I posted this on my Instagram .I just treasure mine and loved it as a little girl at seeing it each Christmas at grandma’s home. Crafts, art and handiwork is something I have enjoyed trying this year and have brought some quality time in a year of repetitive tasks. I also tried an online watercolor class taught by my friend Heidi , and it was an enriching experience, probably the best thing I have done for myself this year, especially the time I had to mark off to paint for and hour or so each week. Muck around with something new using your hands in 2021, and you might find a few moments of zen in the craziness.
By the way, wear those vintage jewels or fancy things. You don’t need a party to have them bring you joy. I took my mom’s beloved Christmas bell pin out this year. Wear it for yourself. We need the uplift now! Honestly each time I saw it on my coat it brought me a little happy feeling. Mom was with me each time I went out with that coat!
Getting out of the house for a simple walk in our neighborhood has been enough to get through some days. Our family did walks before the pandemic, but it always was on a trail, or off in the car to some special spot. We have found a loop from our house that is 1/3 of a mile. It’s not a challenge, but it takes us through a park. We, the guys included, have trained ourselves to do it a few times a day, even if just to take a break from sitting. It may not be burning that many calories, but it’s been good for us to have a set route to just go to without thinking. It’s a break for the mind and doesn’t hurt the heart. I find when I do it, I can easily do it twice without thinking and it lifts me out of whatever funk I have, without much effort. Talking to a friend on the phone, or listening to music or a book while doing it is another treat for yourself. Just doing the walk with nothing, but the quiet is pretty darn good to calm the mind too.
Finding some humor..Jackson’s darling girlfriend Kristin got us this ornament which is a keepsake of what I hope will be a year we will never repeat, but it reminds me to find some humor in it all. We also have been watching old 80’s and 90’s film and stand-up comedians just to get a few laughs in a night. Once we pry the kids out of their room, old movies like Diehard actually sparked a lot of conversation and laughs.
I also have made an effort to call people. Yes I know the old fashioned phone! I had gotten out of the habit and fifteen minutes on the phone with a friend or family member is so nice. My brother also always makes me laugh. Thinking of calling someone? Just do it.
Cooking more. I made my Christmas lasagnas this year- one for my dad to enjoy also. It’s easy to make a double of any recipe to keep for later- or to share.
Max has been perfecting his home made pizza on the outdoor grill and we have gotten into a good routine of cooking at home almost all nights except one a week. I defiantly think we are eating better and finding it a joy when we tackle it together- and the guys clean up.
A bottle brush tree I spied in the window of our local home shop Harvest also made me happy. I brought it to our small cabin and put those tiny battery lights on it . We bought a tiny older kit cabin this year in Tahoe and are so thankful to spend family time here this winter. I promise to share more of it soon.
You readers and this blog community here has gotten me through this year. I cannot tell you how much you being here and your notes mean to me. I thank you all so much. I plan to change things up in 2021 and blog more, so stay tuned. That means treating this blog like a job, something I have struggled with as I usually put everything at home first. This year I plan to put some of my own things first. Anyone else feel the same?
I’d love so much to hear below in the comments what you got out of this last year and your thoughts. I hope it hasn’t been all bad.
Sending you love and wishing each of you a happy, healthy and love filled 2021.
Thank you for reading!
P.S. Someone asked where my satin skirt is from. I bought it last year at Banana Republic and they still have it- marked down plus additional off.
Linda Fant says
Thank you Kim, for this reflective post about lessons learned and life changes in a year we could have never imagined. Luckily, my family has not experienced the hardships that so many others have..losing loved ones, jobs, a home, income. Definitely a year of highs and lows, culminating in an election that gave me hope that more of us want change for the better and leadership that is kinder, inclusive and respectful! Voicing daily gratitude out loud, noticing the small moments that bring a smile, more awareness of other’s struggles, and a greater appreciation for a simpler life that includes introspection every day. It has been a joy to read your posts, smile at your photos and watch your journey. Happy New Year❤️
Hi Linda! You are so right, I have reflected on how fortunate we have been not to lose our income or health this year like so many people in America. I agree a simpler life, with gratitude is helping make it through all this. You have been so kind. Thank you and I wish you the best new year! xo
Damon Morris says
Hi Kim, I rarely reply to the blogs I read but I have to tell you that I found today’s especially interesting and inspiring (and I loved your jewel tree)!
Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy 2021 and I’m looking forward to your future blogs..
Thank you, Damon
Hi Damon, Thank you and I am so glad you liked the tree too. I am hoping to make one of my own in the next year! Wishing you a happy 2021 too! xx
Thank you, Kim. I confess I’ve missed your blogs this past month. Your insights on the year are spot on. Lawrence Wright’s article was incredible. I shared it on Facebook, where an acquaintance commented that he thought it conflated science with policy. I thought it stated exactly something else— that the policies needed to follow the science, especially as the science about this novel virus became clear. Just another example of how vastly differently people in this country are seeing things. The coming week will bring another glaring example of that, as Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote. So for today, we’re taking a long walk and later constructing a birdhouse with our granddaughter…and remembering to breathe. Let’s hope for a better 2021.
Thank you Sarah, so kind of you. I am just trying to wade my way through all this muck too! I could not agree with you more that policy should follow science, especially as we are learning daily about how this virus affects us! I am holding my breath that we have no issues next week.. I have hope we will all come together better when Joe takes office, but it will be a challenge for sure. Enjoy making the birdhouse! What a great idea. We are making winter peanut butter pinecones for the birds from ones I collected in Tahoe. Wishing you a happy 2021! I promise to blog more in the new year. xo
LA CONTESSA says
YOU have been SPOT ON ALL YEAR LONG!IN POLITICS AND GARMENTS AND FOOD!
KEEP AT IT AS WE WOULD MISS YOU IF YOU STOPPED!
WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN OUT OF THIS PAST YEAR………..TO BE HONEST NOT MUCH GOOD!I had already SLOWED DOWN and NOW am a SNAIL who wants to BE A RABBIT!SO much I want to do but have to save my energy for simple tasks!I know that sounds PATHETIC but it is so TRUE!
MY husband continued to work and my SONS are GONE so NO CHANGES there for me.
I THINK I GAINED HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE READING ABOUT THE IDIOT IN THE White House!I had never given a HOOT about POLITICS in MY LIFE!!!!
MY muscles have faded as no more pilates reformer………
Think the EYESIGHT is GOING SOUTH too for all THE READING I DO!
I did start cooking with enjoyment as I found if I started in the afternoon I would enjoy the PROCESS MORE!SO THERE IS ONE THING!
I MAY COME BACK as I WILL GIVE THIS MORE THOUGHT TODAY as I PREPARE for THE ITALIAN FEAST TONIGHT A BIRTHDAY DINNER of THREE!
Elizabeth, I am a bit all over the place! LOL. This year has been a challenge though hasn’t it? All of us got involved in politics because we care about our country.. It became a necessity! Let’s hope we can relax and worry a little less in 2021 as out nation is in the hands of a decent human. I don’t even count on that now. I am still shell-shocked from the past few years! I am so glad to know strong and caring women like you who aren’t afraid to speak out in this past year. You inspire me all the time. Wishing you a better year and good health. You bring joy to so many. I wish it for you. Love and hugs.
Mani Farhadi says
Thank you Kim for always finding ways to connect us through your stories and sharing interesting activities or ideas. You’re very creative! For me, 2020 was the most difficult year, not just for COVID, but because I lost my beloved mom in Oct, and it’s still difficult to process. I love how you always incorporate your mom and grandmother in your blogs. There are ways to keep them with us daily and honor them, as you suggested. There were positive elements this year, such as not commuting and spending more time with my college sons. I’ve written a couple of poems this year. Posted many stories, though not as a blog. Maybe this year I’ll work on a blog? Looking forward with an open heart to 2021. 🙏🏽
Mani, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear mother. What an amazing woman she was. It’s a terrible year to lose someone, especially your mom. Nothing is ever the same after that. My heart goes out to your family. So great you are doing poetry. You should absolutely start a blog! I always love what you share and your positive messages.Wishing you peace in the new year. xo
So much to ponder here. Yes, 2020 was a crazy challenge for most of us. I found myself leaning into the extra time at home and getting a lot done, but lately finding myself a little squirmy and cabin fever setting in.. It’s been good getting out to walk, or meeting a friend for coffee (you!). Even a trip to pick up books at the library has taken on more significance, like a mini escape for a few minutes! I’m trying to spend more time in my studio, but often find myself struggling with the “should” or my insecurities when it comes to my art business. There’s so much to do, I don’t know where to start. No excuses now, though. There’s plenty of time to get things done! I’m really glad you enjoyed our watercolor classes together, and hope to start something back up again soon. It was fun meeting every week and watching everyone’s progress.
It’ nice that you have those little holiday reminders of your mom and grandma to bring you a smile. I remember my mom wearing Christmas tree pins on her jackets when I was a kid, wonder what happened to those? I think my sister has them. Anyway, so many of our holiday traditions originated with her, and I hope my girls enjoy them and will want to pass them down to their families, too! In dark times happy memories help get us through.
I’ve been counting my blessings. Really we’ve been fortunate. No one is sick, we have an income, our house was safe during the fires this summer. We are warm and dry and have plenty to eat. All the rest is gravy, as they say. And I have faith that this year will be better, I can see the light ahead!
Heidi I hear you. We finally have a little extra time. I am wondering what I really want to do in this new year! I also am trying to finish a few books. I am so glad we met this year- and your class was the best thing!
Those little holiday reminders – help me get through the holidays without my mom and grandma. I miss them so much and being the only woman in our family around here, I get sad.
You are who right gratitude will get us through this next year. If we focus on that everything else is manageable. Happy New Year Heidi. xo
Hi Kim, I missed this post when it first came out. Happy New Year! My husband and I consider ourselves to be very lucky as far as the pandemic goes. He has been working from home, so no interruption to our income. Our older son got married during a lull in the summer – a very small garden wedding at his wife’s family home. Our younger son came home for that and stayed for 6 weeks (he lives and works in Alberta, we are in Ontario). He’s here again for a few weeks for Christmas, which is nice, but I don’t think he is coping too well with being alone so much (he also has been working from home); I do worry about his mental health.
I’ve been going on regular walks with a friend, and keeping in touch with other friends and family further afield. I don’t have the patience for crafts etc., so I read a lot – and, yes, I’ve been glued to the news; what happened yesterday was dreadful (understatement of the year), but congrats on the upcoming new administration!
Hi Patricia, Great to hear from you and Happy New Year. Yes cannot believe what happened this week. I am trying my best to look at the upside which may mean the Trump train has finally destroyed itself and will slowly die..And Americans will finally see who this man is and what he represents. I am so excited for normalcy and Biden and the Senate to change! Good things hopefully coming and some care about the pandemic from the top.
How wonderful your son was able to have a small wedding. That sounds pretty in the garden! It’s nice your other son is working from home. My oldest is also and having a rough time with it. Not the work, but being alone all the time! I do hope this vaccine changes our lives for the better this year. It’s good you are keeping in touch with friends. Take care! xo
Kim, receiving an email alerting me to your new blog post is a blessing each and every time. You have a lovely and effortless way of expressing what so many of us are feeling and your posts have been a source of great encouragement for me. Even more so this past year. So far 2021 is not off to a great start … but looking for silver linings and staying resilient will get us through. xo