Honest Life

Word of the Year: Listen

I’ve been trying to write a post since July. Like many others I am having a hard time reflecting on 2020. One thing I can say for essentially the entire world at this point is that none of us realized how we would all be so directly affected by the same thing so quickly. I first heard about Covid-19 in December of 2019, about a week before Christmas. I was forwarded an email originally written for the healthcare group at a company I worked for at the time. The message was letting everyone know that we might have heard about a virus in China and given that some of us worked in healthcare facilities we should be vigilant in washing our hands when we’re on the jobsites. That was it. It seemed so unlikely and absurd that it could ever be as wide spread and far reaching as it has become. It seemed that there was no way this would reach us. It was an email that was read, and soon after an email I deleted. I think I even rolled my eyes when I read it.

I set off in 2020 with a word to guide me through the year instead of resolutions. I picked ‘secure’. Which is really laughable considering what I’ve been through this year. Nothing felt secure for me until two weeks ago. Everything was up in the air. I wasn’t sure how anything was going to work out. I’m writing this now from a place of security. Finally. And I think that is why I can now look back and reflect to you all about my year.

When I first created this website, I did so as a safe place for me to reflect on my life, and share lessons I’m learning as I am trying to inch toward a more simple and honest lifestyle. For me, it has done that. I wish I could have shared more directly with you all when things were happening to me this year. But I honestly felt scared all the time. And like so many others this year, I was just depressed. June, July and August were probably my worst times. I didn’t want to update with hope and optimism only to be let down again. It’s probably good I took a step back. Everything I thought was going to happen didn’t. When things seemed like they were going to look up, they all came crashing down again. It was a tough year, but it helps to know I wasn’t the only person struggling. We all did, we all are. All over the world.

The short of it is this. I moved back to Spokane for all the optimistic reasons I so eloquently stated here and with no inkling that anything could possibly derail this plan. I got a job. I was furloughed from the job. I was permanently removed from the job. I applied for unemployment. I didn’t get a single payment for six months. I lived with my in-laws for seven months longer than the two I had planned on. I lived in an Airbnb for three months, which was two months longer than I was supposed to. I didn’t have a space of my own for nearly a year. Everything I owned was in storage. Nothing felt right. Then I got a job. I found a house. I lost a house. I found another house, I lost another house. I found another house, and finally 10 months after we started our move, I finally slept in my own bed again last week for the first time since February.

Despite all this chaos and uncertainty, three new babies were born in my friends/family group, I became an Aunt, my cousin got married, I became very close with my in-laws in all the best ways, I fulfilled my life long dream of working from home post-pandemic, I bought a house, I saved money, I opened an IRA, Biden got elected, and we now have a vaccine. Oh, and Taylor Swift dropped two new full length albums. Taylor don’t play during pandemics.

It’s weird to be a week away from the end of the year and actually be able to look at my word of secure and finally feel secure. I’m not sure how I ended up here and if I knew I would have to go through a ton of insecurity to get to this place, I’m not sure I would do it again. But sometimes you just have to keep moving ahead. I can’t look back.

I have been thinking all month about what I want my word to be for 2021. I was anxious to do anything that felt too ambitious: thrive, flourish, free, work, growth. I just knew that 2021 needed to be a year where I took care of myself. I was thinking of falling back on ‘honest’, but it felt kind of mean to myself after everything I’ve been through. It’s a lot of pressure to put honesty with yourself at the forefront of every day. Then I wanted to go with ‘simple’ after the complicated year I had, but it felt like I had just landed back on my feet and I didn’t want to force myself into simplicity right away. So I landed on my word for 2021 being ‘listen’.

I have to be able to listen to myself and be okay with what I am feeling and trying to say. I can take listen with me as I navigate the year on financial decisions, home décor and projects, work, myself, and family/friends. My goal with listen to to just sit with myself before I decide on anything. Just take a moment longer than I would normally. I think that is going to make all the difference this year. If I feel unsure about something or worried about what others will think of it, I’m going to just listen to myself – what do I really think about it? I’m trying to learn to trust myself more and this seems like a good way to go about it. If you want to come up with a word for 2021 for yourself here is a post I made about how to do that. Let me know your word when you decide!

I’m sorry we all had a year. Being able to reflect on it at all is a huge privilege I do not take for granted. There were fires, racial injustice, and illness to content with. I’m writing this in my new house, from my home office, surrounded by my many things, and I am so very lucky to be here. I am lucky everything worked out. I am lucky my family and friends are healthy. I am lucky to have a job I love. I am so grateful to the universe for how this year has ended, but mostly like you all, I am just happy it’s ending.

Stay safe. Stay home. We’re almost out of this. Happy new year.

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