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Looking Back at 2020

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Needless to say, 2020 was undoubtedly a tough year no matter how you look at it. But amidst all the madness, there were so many silver lining moments. Can you look back and find those moments? Surely, you must have had some. But I’m not gonna lie. I had my share of frustrations, fears & uncertainty. I don’t know about you, but I had to face a whole lot of me!

Then someone asked me to finish this sentence:

I am so proud in 2020 that….

And so it goes.

I’m so proud that I found forgiveness for myself

I let go of all those yucky mommy moments. I can now truly see my daughter through the lens of love. Unconditional love. I always thought that came naturally, but it didn’t for me and I needed to say that out loud to face it. It was a hard journey as you can read here. But now, I can see so much fun I had with my daughter growing up. I did do good things. Way more than I gave myself credit for.

I’m so proud the I got up at 5:30 AM for early morning hikes and bike rides.

And let’s be real clear here. I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON! But our new normal made me one. I lost 13 pounds and fit into a dress that I wore for my very own bridal shower in 2001. My amazing group of women, who I call my Sheros, got me up every morning to hike, bike, or just move my body!

“I have seen more sunrises with these ladies than I have in my life time”

-Alice Taylor

My favorite quote from one of my hiking besties. Here are just a glimpse of our amazing sunrises. This is so worth getting up for.

(from left: Hilda, ME, Luisa, Alice, Victoria and Tina)

These are my amazing Sheros that continue to inspire me every day of my life. Old friends making new friends and collectively, we are lifelong friends. There is something to be said when you find your tribe. Magic happens. Don’t feel like you have to do anything alone. There is more power in togetherness.

And if you don’t think discipline and hard work don’t pay off, you are so wrong, my friend, because it does. At the age of 51, I didn’t believe that I could fit into anything I wore before I got pregnant. I proved myself wrong.

If I can reach this goal, I can do anything.

I believe in myself

I believe I can do hard things

I believe I can achieve anything I set my mind to

I changed my narrative in 2020.

And I’m here to tell you, my friend, that you can too.

But the ONE thing I am truly proud of

is recognizing all the resentment I allowed to build up over the years that I didn’t realize I had. Slowing down meant more time in stillness, quiet, and the thoughts in my head. It isn’t always a comfortable place for me to be as my thoughts always seem to be ruminating on bad memories of the past or all of my “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve’s” that occupy valuable brain space. Don’t you just hate that? But here’s my one silver lining moment:

I’m so proud I let go of the past.

While raising a child with learning challenges was no easy feat, neither was our marriage. It definitely strained our relationship in so many ways. We didn’t agree on a lot of things as far as our daughter was concerned.

We fought a lot.

And the fighting certainly didn’t help with my daughter’s anxiety. I grew resentful over the years and I just accepted that this was as good as it gets. I didn’t expect him to agree with me on everything, but it drove a wedge in our marriage. At least on my side, it did, unbeknown to him.

I’m not sure when it all shifted for me. Maybe realizing how fragile life is as we hear numbers of death rising each day. Maybe letting go of control over my daughter’s academics, and I mean REALLY letting go of control so I can just find room to love her also allowed me to reopen my heart to back up to my husband. Corny as it sounds, like a Hallmark Christmas movie (which I love to watch), it’s kinda what happened. We laugh more together; we talk & listen to each other more intentionally and I feel butterflies in my stomach again when he gets home from work. I really do.

We found our way back to the Sandbox….

When my husband and I first met back in the ’90s, I had visions of us walking together as if we were both 5 years old. I can’t explain why or how, it just happened. Mind you, we are 17 years apart. I know, right?

Whenever we got into a fight, we used the sandbox analogy to find common ground again. I offered him my shovel, and he gave me his bucket and we were back in the sandbox where we were always happy, playing, and laughing again. It’s kinda super cute, right? He is my soul mate. There is no doubt about that. Maybe that’s what made it so easy for me to see us as kids together. It’s not a perfect solution, but it really worked for us most of the time. Our therapist at the time, Yona Collins, who has since passed from cancer, loved our “sandbox theory” and asked if she could use it in her sessions. We were on to something, don’t you think? I mean, if you have a licensed professional wanting to use our analogy, I think there’s something to be said about that.

What’s my point, you ask?

We are all responsible for our own happiness. Yes, 2020 sucked, big time. There is no dancing around that.

But we can live our lives feeling defeated, or we can defeat the things that keep us from living our lives   –tina forrestel

Life is too short. If there is anything you can take away from 2020…it’s got to be that!

Here are some ways you can take control of your own happiness. Be intentional about the life you want:

  1. List out three big goals you want to accomplish
  2. Build better habits
  3. Learn something new that will bring you joy
  4. Find a partner or accountability group to keep you motivated (surround yourself with likeminded people that will help you reach your potential)
  5. Let go of negative talk and negative people that do not serve you well
  6. Take time to do a whole lot of self-care and stop feeling guilty about it!
  7. Join a mindfulness group

Mindfulness has been around for a long time but I’m not going to assume everyone knows what it is. But for us who do know, do we always put it into practice? I’m guilty of that for sure. We all need tools, and we all need to refresh our tools, don’t we? Growing is constant.

I am shamelessly going to plug a group I belong to that has changed my life during this past year. I’ve known about mindfulness since my kids were toddlers. I wish I had put it into better practice, especially raising a daughter with learning challenges. Motherhood would’ve been much more manageable for me. But I was just in the beginning of learning what mindfulness was all about yet all too consumed in understanding all my daughter’s needs and her diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder.

MBOX

So, when I say, we are responsible for creating our own happiness, I mean it is time to take control over yours. Be intentional with all the decisions you make moving forward in 2021. Jump on to this article that talks about why intentions are more effective than New Year’s resolutions, written by Pam Marcheski, founder of IntentAct & the MBOX community. This community really helped shift my mindset on many things over this past year. It helped me get unstuck and change the narrative of all the negative talk in my head. This year was very challenging on so many levels. We need to access our inner strength more than ever. Take a few moments to explore what MBOX is all about.

Mindfulness doesn’t come easy, but when you have wonderful tools and an amazing coach, you will live the life you desire. I’m living proof of it! I have been a part of the MBOX community since it started its very first launch, three boxes ago, and have learned valuable lessons each quarter. The box is filled with gifts that help you dive deeper into mindfulness and a better understanding of how to apply it to your everyday life. Better yet, I have made lifelong friends in the community. What have you got to lose? Invest in yourself. I don’t want you to miss out on the next quarter because it can be life-changing for you too!

There is power in numbers

I can’t express enough how important it is to belong to a group, of link-minded people, to lift you up and give you space to be who you are. That’s the whole reason why I started my blog. I want to give a place for people to say parenting sucks sometimes. Caretaking sucks sometimes. However, it doesn’t make me any lessor of a person. It doesn’t mean I don’t love being a parent or I don’t want to take care of my mom. But we have to face ourselves in order to move forward.

Life isn’t perfect.

We are going to have those hard days and having the right tools to get through those tough days makes all the difference. There is no shame in needing help and support. It doesn’t mean we are weak. There is more courage in asking for help. It also doesn’t mean we love our family members any less. We are just having a hard time and it’s okay. It really is. I want you to make that a habit to tell yourself “it’s okay”. Say it OUT LOUD to yourself at least three times right now and release all your anxiety. As caretakers of kids and parents, we are often too hard on ourselves. STOP. Know that you are doing your best. Give yourself some grace.

Take control over your happiness today!

PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Leave a comment below as I would love to know how YOU finish this sentence “I am so proud that in 2020….” then tell me what your plans are in 2021 to live the life you want. We look back to move forward.

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