Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe we have finally reached 2021? This past year has been a hell of a rollercoaster and it’s crazy to think of how far we have come.
Before I reflect back on 2020, I want to take a moment to reflect on the holidays. I know this holiday season looked different for many people, as most of us had smaller gatherings than usual. I typically get together with my entire family, so having only the four of us for all of Christmas was quite strange. With that said, we still had a pretty exceptional Christmas, all things considered. We spent a lot of time together, and not having to run around to different places was actually quite relaxing. There was a lot of food, wine, games, movies, presents, but the biggest gift of all was truly spending time with my family. I am so grateful for this time spent together, and in a year that has been so challenging, I am reminded to count my blessings, of which there are many.
After enjoying the majority of the holidays together, everyone went their separate ways for new years. I had a very low-key new years staying home, watching the ball drop, drinking some wine and calling loves ones to wish them all a Happy New Year. Typically I am also running all over the place on new years, so it was really nice for me to take some time to slow down, relax, and reflect on everything this past year has brought. It certainly has been a wild ride and I am grateful for having made it out the other side and being able to share this journey with all of you, and those who have supported me along the way.
2020 brought quite a few lows for many of us. A big one for me was my housing situation and mental health issues, that reached a peak in early 2020. I moved out from my place at the time, which caused multiple other financial and mental health issues. Eventually, I would up relocating to the Okanagan and broke my lease in Vancouver, and I am still currently in the process of sorting out my housing situation. However, I learned the importance of a stable housing environment and financial stability. I am so grateful to the friends and family who supported me through this, and my job for generating financial stability in a period of great uncertainty for me. Friendships definitely took a hit this year for me as well. This may have been due to the fact that I was going through a lot of mental health hurdles, or the pandemic, or simply that I was continuing to grow up and transition from a student mindset to an ‘adult’ mindset, if you want to call it that – but I realized who a lot of my true friends were this year. All relationships need consistent effort and mutual respect and if that isn’t there then you are absolutely allowed to walk away. I am thankful for those true friends that I do have who put in the time and effort to mutually work on our relationships.
Another big low was of course the COVID-19 pandemic, which we have all collectively gone through, and for me personally I had to adjust to working from home full-time as well. One of the things I learned is the importance of connection and still exploring safely during this time. I’ve also learnt the capacity I have for working remotely, which has been interesting but largely successful for my position. I am very grateful for the support of those I can connect with and my colleagues/managers for weathering this storm together. Finally, a low for me this year was my mental health and other health issues, which fostered many unhealthy coping mechanisms. However, I can’t fully hate on 2020 because it made me realize just how important our health is, and after this realization I was able to take a lot of steps to prioritize my mental health and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Without a doubt, mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic have been on the minds of many people. My most-viewed blog post this year was The Light at The End of The Tunnel, discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health. I am grateful to be able to share my thoughts on these topics and know that we are going through many of these experiences together. I am going to be talking more about my mental health journey in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned for that!
But, it wasn’t all bad! There were some good highlights of 2020 as well. I finished my first year in my first job post-graduation and got my contract renewed for another year, which I am absolutely ecstatic about. I took part in a lot of great work events and learned a ton, and I am excited to continue learning in 2021 – and am especially grateful for all of this having happened in the middle of a pandemic. I also went on a wicked road trip with my mom in the summer through BC and Alberta, and it was amazing to go explore and get outdoors. The circumstances surrounding the pandemic and my housing situation also pushed me to reconnect with my family in the Okanagan, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise, and is something I am really grateful for. And of course, as I mentioned, this year really emphasized the importance of mental health and self care for me which is something I will definitely be carrying into 2021.
If I had to describe the past year in one word, I would have to go with unprecedented. We’ve heard this word over and over and it is absolutely true. It has been a whirlwind and brought so many unexpected things, in particular many risks that we may not have faced previously. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic was definitely one of them, and another one for me was my housing situation that I previously mentioned. Though I am still in the process of fully sorting out my housing situation, I am grateful for where I am now. In the midst of the chaos this year, I found going for walks in nature, journaling, and practicing yoga were a few things that I did to bring more peace to me during these times of uncertainty. I am hoping to continue doing these practices in the new year as well.
Of course, this year brought many lessons to be learned. One of the biggest things I learned this year was the importance of health, especially mental health. This lesson took me a long time to learn and took many months to work through, but I am incredibly grateful for it because it has brought me to where I am now. I will be discussing more about my mental health journey in an upcoming blog post, so keep your eyes out for that! Another big lesson for me was the importance of connection, effort, self-worth and relationships. I would not have made it through this year without connecting with others and prioritizing fulfilling relationships, and I am so grateful for those who I have built connections with. These connections extend to place as well, and I have come to realize that I can call both the Okanagan and Vancouver home, and don’t necessarily have to choose one place over the other. I am very tied to both places and have strong connections in both, and I am so lucky to be in that position.
An additional lesson I’ve learned this year is that stability, safety, and exploration are all key and they are not mutually exclusive – and this was a big realization for me, especially travelling on a road trip within Canada during the pandemic. As long as you are safe, you can still explore and this can be an important part of generating stability as well. Speaking of stability, my job is something I have been incredibly grateful for this year, especially during a time when many others have lost their jobs. I am so incredibly lucky to have a job, and one that I truly enjoy doing. Having entered the second year in my position, I am embracing being a higher education professional and I am looking forward to all of the learnings and growth to come. And finally, my last lesson learned this year was that good friends are few and far between, but amazing to have. I am beyond grateful for those friends in my life and will continue to nurture these relationships in the future.
Ultimately, despite the craziness of 2020, I am coming out of the year with a whole lot of gratitude and I will be carrying this gratitude with me into 2021. As we head into the new year, I will be focusing on continuing to cultivate a balanced lifestyle, sticking to boundaries, prioritizing self care and health (both mental and physical), and building stronger connections with those most important to me. Consistency in all of these practices will be a big focus for me throughout the year. Though there is still a lot of uncertainty as we enter 2021, I am hopeful that this year can bring positive change for all of us. Here’s to health, wellness, prosperity and love in this new year – I hope you all have a fantastic 2021! <3