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Thank U, Next: What I Learned in 2020

Hi, friends! It’s been a while, so I wanted to give you all (and myself) a little review/update before we close out the crazy year of 2020.

As some of you know, I’ve been working with online retailer, Zulily as a collaborator for their blog. This is part of the reason why I’ve been slacking on my blog lately, but going into 2021, one of my goals is to bring The Important Things to the next level. (Look out for a few of these blogs written for Zulily, coming in the next week or so!)

The year 2020 brought SO many changes in my life, as it did for many around the world. Throughout the COVID-19 madness, I’ve tried my best to look on the bright side and stay positive throughout. These past few weeks, however, I think it finally hit me. I was overcome with exhaustion and an overall discouraged feeling. As I said in my post, “I have depression and anxiety…let’s talk about it. (World Mental Health Day 2020)” I explained the importance of letting ourselves feel these emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. I spent the past couple of weeks reflecting and spending time with my beloved family, trying to get away from it all for a little bit.

Social media is a huge part of what I do as a blogger, and it’s typically something that I enjoy. I absolutely love Christmas and the holiday season, and as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing my holidays on social media, it started to feel like a lot, when all I wanted to do was sit by the fire with my family. So, I took a few days off (and deleted Snapchat…horrors!) to do just that.

Anyway, after taking some time to think about the past year, I’ve decided to share some of the important lessons that I’ve learned. I’ve been seeing so many people complaining that 2020 was the worst year ever, a wash of a year, just a fluke, and 2021 will be much better. But, being the realist that I am (I like to think hopeful realist…hope for the best, prepare for the worst), I know that the drop of the ball at midnight tonight isn’t going to magically change everything. So it only seemed right to share some of these lessons in hopes that we can all move forward into 2021 with determination and hope, based on the things that sucked and the things that rocked from 2020.

1. Learn to love being alone.

Yes, I am pulling the “forever single” card yet again. But if there is one thing being single for years and years while your friends and family are coupled up has taught me, it is to LOVE my alone time. It took me years after a bad breakup (or three) to learn to love myself again, but I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Yes, love is great, but I truly believe that we are able to love others that much more once we are able to truly love ourselves first.

While I did have the comforting company of my magnificent roommate for most of COVID, I also started working from home (and in-person modeling jobs came to a halt). This resulted in countless hours spent alone at home, as many people experienced during “quarantine.” Not only did I learn to love this time at home (okay, I admit it…I’m officially a homebody) but I began to make time for my many hobbies that I had begun to neglect since I moved to the city.

2. Find joy in the little things.

At the beginning of COVID when I was still working as an editorial assistant, my incredible manager suggested writing down everything I did that day. Since this was during the actual lockdown, it wasn’t much. But I began recording everything in categories (food, fitness, self-care, creative, etc.) and what a difference it made in my mindset.

It was difficult at first, because writing down things like “finally made chicken tikka masala” or “lit my new lavender candle for the first time” or “finished that stupid puzzle” felt silly. However, learning to appreciate these little things for what they were–little moments of joy–made my time in quarantine bearable, and actually enjoyable. Instead of going to bed every night feeling like a prisoner locked in my apartment, I looked at my list, and felt accomplished and proud.

3. If you are unhappy about something in your life, do something about it.

This sounds a little preachy, and I promise that is not my intention. I know there are things in all of our lives that are out of our control. This year has showed us that there are so many things that can cause tragedy, devastation and unhappiness, and we won’t always have the ability to prevent or change these things. For this reason, I believe changing the things that you can control is that much more important.

I started out 2020 working for a company that was far away, and required more work than I wanted to be doing at that point in my life (especially while attempting to keep up all my side hustles).

So…I did something about it.

I quit my job and started the blog that I’ve been wanting to start for 10 years. Insane, right? Sure, maybe. But I can’t tell you how happy I am to have made that move. It took months of working my ass off, but I’m now doing multiple things that I love (and somehow still making ends meet in NYC) and I literally cannot wait to wake up in the morning. I’m doing things that I love for a living, and I have to tell you, it kicks ass. *Would recommend to a friend.*

If you are having some trouble motivating to do this (it took me years to grow a pair and take the plunge), I highly recommend listening to this podcast interviewing my great aunt, Becky Gibby about how she followed her passions to find her second wind in life:

I’m hoping everybody’s trying to find some silver linings as we go through what we’re going through. Because the only way is to keep finding the silver linings…It’s really, really important for all of us to stay positive. We only get to go round once. We can not squander it.”

So, as we bid adieu to 2020, let us not forget the lessons that we learned, and push optimistically into the new year not regretting or blaming the past year, but letting it help inspire us. Let’s set goals, help others when we can, and appreciate the little things that make us happy.

Happy New Year, everyone. I can’t wait to start 2021 with all of you!

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