2020: A lost year? Or a chance to reflect and renew?

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As I write this, I sit on my verandah with the sun beaming down on me. Coffee to my left and radio humming in the background. I decided to write this because I had a quiet moment to reflect on everything that has come to be in the last few months.

I leaned into the year 2020 with ambition to complete four credits at Trent University, make progress in my career, put my finances in order, and get married in the fall in a private ceremony in luscious Saint Lucia.  

In January, I welcomed the new year and hibernated. In February, Kerri King and I hosted a Durham Women’s Network meet up that connected more than 50 women at State & Main in Whitby. I always LOVE how those events lift me up. I come away from them with new ideas, connections and lessons. I felt like I was back on an upward trajectory after a much-needed break over the winter holidays. By March, our lives came to a halt when COVID-19 arrived at our borders. Its impact has been far reaching. 

I’m an introvert. I never thought that I would say this, but I miss seeing people every day. I miss the office. I miss the hellos in the hall and the positive wardrobe commentary. That being said, I’m extremely grateful for the ability to work from home. My day job has me working around the clock. I’m a communicator, so my job is to tell people to stay home and flatten the curve. I get to support essential, front-line workers by creating and sharing messages of support. My work as a communicator is never more appreciated than during a crisis. It’s also given me the ability to stay focused on my duty to public service during this crisis, while chaos is ongoing in my peripheral vision.

So while I have this quiet moment, I want to share with you what I have learned:

Supporting local is more important than ever.

Local businesses are everything. Take the time to think about how you can support them now. This period of time will pass, and we need to make sure our friends are in a position to weather the storm. If you are able—order from your favourite restaurant. Join a CSA farm share program. Add beauty to your home with help from a local florist. Pamper yourself with a home gift basket from a local spa. Continue to support your neighbourhood yoga studio. Say thank you to those who make a difference in the community and help them to promote their business through your networks. Spread the word. It’s the Durham way.

Time is special.

Date night consists of ordering in from a local restaurant (see above) or cooking together with my partner. Music. Wine. Maybe dancing if there is a lot of wine involved. I think I may have even become a better mom. Sure, I’ve been working from home and tied up a lot of the time. I haven’t quite figured out the distance learning thing for all three of my girls. But what they have been doing, they love. Playing outside in the backyard. Baking. Planting seeds. Playing school. Building forts. It makes me incredibly happy to see that creativity is blooming. I call my parents more often to check in. They’ve been great sports about social distancing, and so they should be as they are at a vulnerable age. When I speak with them, and see their smiling faces through this, I feel happy.

Make the best use of everything.

If anything, this crisis has taught us the value of EVERYTHING—family, friends, food, housing and community. We have all had to take stock of the typical way we do things and change it to adapt. We have had to become more innovative as a result. At the same time, we reference tried and true skillsets that our grandparents were pros at. That meant baking fresh bread in the oven using simple ingredients, not letting any leftovers go to waste and finding a useful, homemade solution for everything. Homesteading was not a trend for them—it was their life. We can all look backward to find our way forward during these times. 

Create your own normal.

I still get dressed, put on makeup and do my hair (OK, every other day). I still wake up early and go to bed at a decent time. Routines are crucial right now to keep our sense of selves engaged and sane. We’ve never experienced anything like this in our lives. On a global scale, it’s unprecedented for our generation. Through all of this, we still have the ability to adapt and pivot. We can create a new routine; a new normal. 

It’s a time to reflect and renew.

There has been no better time to reflect on the “busy-ness” of our lives and what really matters. There is no better time to be grateful for the little things in our life. It’s time to think about change, and how we can adapt. How to renew the confidence we had before all of this change affected us.

What do you consider a key takeaway during this time? How can we help entrepreneurs in the community? What is your new routine? Let’s keep the conversation going—leave your comments below.

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