I’m so glad 2020 is over, and while it looks like 2021 isn’t giving us a break anytime soon, I didn’t want to leave last year entirely behind without a few last words.
That tailspin of a year had us all constantly moving in every direction while staying locked in place, and the entire experience crystallized a few important things I’ve learned about life that have helped me over the years.
Be Mindful | Don't do things for the sake of being busy
This was a hard lesson for me in 2020.
Working with my hands has been a way for me to deal with stress for as long as I can remember. Aside from making jewelry, I tend to spend my time playing guitar, gardening, working on photography projects or cooking. Even cleaning is something I find relaxing. There’s just something about working with my hands that is meditative, and it’s always been my escape.
In those early days of lockdown, I dealt with the newfound stress of the pandemic by staying busy.
My goal? To be busy and productive until the whole mess passed.
As it turns out, I stayed a little too busy. A mere three weeks after lockdown, I found myself with a pretty bad case of tendonitis in my dominant hand. Turns out, it mostly came from being on devices too much. Tapping screens, texting, typing, holding devices, carrying anything heavy, and even pushing buttons seemed to make it worse.
The solution in the end? I had to take a break from everything until it was better, even making jewelry.
After everything was said and done, it took me a total of four months to be able to use my hands more normally again, but not without some major changes.
The biggest change?
Limiting my screen time. This alone has done wonders for my mental health, but it also helped me to slow down, and not feel like something is wrong if I’m not busy all the time.
Instead, I’ve found ways to be more mindful about what I’m doing, and more importantly why I should do something.
It’s a mindset that promotes a more sustainable well-being, and fits in well with my overall philosophy in life.
Be Flexible | Lean into change and learn how to adapt
I’ve had my business for over 15 years, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that 2020 was the first year I actually planned out my entire year a couple days into January. It didn’t take that long, and it felt so good to finally do.
As you can imagine after a few months, it became pretty obvious that nothing I had planned would happen.
At first, it definitely felt like it was all for nothing. It felt like a bit of a cosmic joke, to be honest. The first time I make the effort, and then a worldwide pandemic rolls in? It was hard not to take it personally.
In retrospect, that’s just life, isn’t it?
Things change all the time, whether we’re in a pandemic or not. The ability to deal with obstacles is a skill that will only serve to make life easier in the end.
That constant change was good in a sense, because 2020 gave me the opportunity to focus on my adaptability skills more than normal, and reminded me that the only constant is change.
And for me, leaning into it is the best way to get past it.
Art is Beauty and Beauty is Hope
The first was one of my favorite customers of all time back in Chicago. Although we met through my business, I definitely consider her a friend, and was happy to catch up. More than that though, it was a timely connection for me. Just as I was doubting my purpose in the pandemic, she shared a few words about still wearing my jewelry all the time and how these small pieces of beauty provide her with a glimmer of hope during such uncertain times.
The second was from a medical professional and artist in Italy, who by some cosmic coincidence, has known of me and my work since the very beginning! If you don’t know, that’s fifteen long years. She came across my work as a young girl living in the States with her family, and found me again on social media after all these years. She’d been following me for a while, and out of the blue, sent me a beautifully worded message sharing how grateful she was to have found me again, and proceeded to thank me for all the simplicity, authenticity, and beauty I have shown her over the last fifteen years.
Both of these messages came within days of my doubts rising to the surface, and it felt like the universe was trying to tell me to keep going. It realigned my sense of self and purpose to know that what I did made people see beauty and have hope, and made clear to me how important it is us to do that for each other when we can.
The thing is, it doesn’t really matter where we find art, beauty and hope in times like these. It only matters that we do.
What Did You Learn in 2020?
I know I’m not the only one that learned a thing or two in 2020, and I’d love to hear what you have to say! What were your takeaways from 2020?
Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Until next time, take care and be well.