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For many of us, as we circle back on a full year of COVID regulations, there is an inherent “looking back” at what we have accomplished in the last 365 days. Without the traditional markers of time’s passage, many of us have felt like the year was more or less— wasted. Any momentum that 2019 had with it, be it career, interpersonal, or health-related all came to a screeching halt as the entire country began to move back home with family, get laid off, attend school remotely and so much more, and often worse.
Of course, we are all well aware of the many many ways in which COVID-19 has knocked the wind out of our collective sails. So, I certainly don’t need to go on endless diatribes describing in detail just how much this year sucked, we all saw it. But from all of that upheaval and distress, we have found new ways to mark our own accomplishments and passages of time. What might seem silly or frivolous out of the context of this year, is actually a great accomplishment, and examples of our resilience. We have all clung to what we can during this time, for any semblance of normalcy (a phrase you hear often thrown around, in the same breath as “the new normal” or “unprecedented times”) and those accomplishments should and must be celebrated.
To have lived through an event like this, and to be able to do anything more than wallow in bed (which I cast no assertion on, and have certainly spent my fair share of quarantine days doing just that) is astounding, and to borrow a phrase from Oprah, “Well hello! Let’s celebrate that!” While I may not have had traditional successes, or more likely our successes may not have looked exactly like we imagined, that does not in any way diminish the magnitude and scope of their significance.
So if you put up a Halloween Tree this year to feel like time was passing, give yourself a pat on the back. If you went outside for a walk with your dog every day for a week, allow yourself to feel that for what it is, an accomplishment. And if you feel like all that you can feasibly manage to do in a day, is just eat three meals, and you did that, then you have done something amazing, and I hope you can acknowledge that.
I hope that we can, and have rewired our expectations in regards to our successes. I reached out to several different people who bravely shared their stories with me to publish in hopes that we can all recontextualize how we view what we have done throughout the year. And hopefully, the next time you look at your planner or your daily reminders you realize that each thing you do during the day is not only some silly task you checked off but a radical shift in what you can and have accomplished this year.
I think my biggest area of growth was finally figuring out that my intellectual worth was not tied to my job title. Losing my “dream job” at the beginning of quarantine opened my eyes to how toxic the way I was living and working was, and how much of myself I had lost because I was giving everything I had, and all my mental, emotional, and physical energy to my job. It also woke me up to the fact that it was NOT my dream job and I had 0 passion for it. Because I had more free time, and mental energy I was able to get back to the core values and activities that really made me happy including paintings and cooking, deepening relationships with friends. And because I was happier it opened me to even more opportunities, like starting my own business and becoming a cocktail influencer (cocktailswithcorinne.) which allowed me to discover I do have passion!
I feel like I have grown so much this past year. With so much extra time on my hands, I’ve not only had more time to do things I enjoy and tap back into my creative roots, but I’ve also been able to do a lot of soul-searching and self-reflection. I’ve been able to learn things about myself that I wasn’t able to see before, as well as learn more about other people and their psychology.
I realized that I carry my childhood trauma from my mom dying with me every day of my life, and it impacts me more than I thought. I realized I have abandonment attachment style issues, so I overexert myself in relationships and so much more. But because of this, I have been able to be more mindful of my actions and start healing. This has brought me a lot of tears but also so much peace. I feel like I’m finally turning into the best version of myself and in turn, I can help others heal and become their best selves as well
I’m proud that I genuinely feel beautiful and that I like the way my body looks, even though it has grown and changed shape in ways I haven’t seen in several years.
Looking In and Checking In
I was always nervous about mindfulness practices because of their focus inward. Sometimes I use self-care as a distraction (which is fine!) but I think it’s as equally as important to have reflective time and do things to heal the parts of me that I avoid in the day-to-day. I finally decided to be a little more disciplined with meditation (something I’ve done on and off for years) because of all the extra free time I’ve had quarantining. It’s not always easy, but I’ve come a long way throughout quarantine and I’m so proud to have a mindfulness practice that I enjoy now!
I grew a lot since last March, because when we first went into lockdown my anxiety and mental health really got so much worse, as I’m sure it did for so many others. While I’ve dealt with these issues for most of my life, this rapid depletion really took a toll on me. But finally, it pushed me to get the help I needed. When I was finally diagnosed, my doctors explained to me that I had been treated for anxiety and depression my whole life which were just symptoms of a larger issue. Since my proper diagnosis, I finally am on the right meds, and I’m able to adequately process things for what feels like the first time in my life. While I still have so much more work to do, I feel like I’m on the right track
I started an upcycled and repurposed fashion and accessory business in December of 2019, and just as I was gearing up for my first ever Spring Farmer’s Market, major business shutdowns governed our local economy and commerce. I had worked so hard to build up inventory to display on my table and suddenly I had nowhere to sell it. I was afraid of using e-commerce platforms because my whole shtick was “Shop Local—Stay Local” but I needed an outlet for my mission on reused textiles and slow fashion.
Instead of falling prey to the ever-booming outlet of e-commerce, I grew the confidence to reach out to local shops and vendors to carry my products in their stores which not only helped my business grow but also supported the other small, struggling businesses. Projects that I let hang on the shelves unfinished were finally up for sale and I was able to produce enough income to cover some student debt, invest in stock portfolios, purchase upgraded supplies for my business and give my family of five a little cushion without them ever knowing that I was struggling in the beginning.
Leap of Faith
I am proud that I found the courage/strength to make a huge decision that was a leap of faith but was right for my life/health. Of course- I decided to move during the pandemic. It was a big decision but was what I needed to do to adjust to this new normal of 2020. It was a decision I needed for my own mental health to feel comfortable in my own space while living in a global pandemic.
I have an active eating disorder. I’ve lost close to 55lbs and I’ve been obsessively using a scale through the past months. While helping a friend move, I noticed, with no malicious intentions, that their scale had ended up in my car. Rather than taking the scale and secretary exploiting it, I took the scale out of my car and expressed to my friend that I think the scale should stay in their car.