2020 was quite a year. How’s that for an understatement? But 2020 was actually a good year for me in many ways, although certainly not how I expected it to be at the start.
My 2020 word of the year was calm. My life by the end of 2019 had gotten pretty hectic and chaotic, and I was ready to slow things down and be calm.
Although that might seem laughable, I did manage to calm some aspects of my life. I quit my job at Dunkin mid-January. I was getting stretched too thin trying to juggle all of the things I was doing, and even though it made our budget a lot tighter, I needed more space. Ironically, my word for 2019 was margin, and by the end of 2019, I basically had zero margin in my schedule. I did not do well with that aspect of that word.
One thing I’ve done a lot of this year is spend some time in introspection, really learning about myself.
And I’ve realized that I’m kind of high maintenance, and that’s okay. I need quiet time every day. I need more sleep than most people. I need extra margin in my schedule. I can survive for awhile without those things, but I really thrive when I get them.
I also realized how amazing my rhythms and routines are. Over the past few years especially, we’ve really developed a way of doing things that works. Although the specifics have shifted, especially in light of covid and stay-at-home orders and whatnot this year, we still generally follow our days of the week focus. We still have the same general order of doing things on weekdays and weekends. And even when the world kind of went crazy, those rhythms and routines stuck around and provided structure when everything else was hard.
I’ve been able to delve deeper into the enneagram, and understand my motivations for the things I do, and then both recognize them in the moment and act on what I now know better about myself. Those sentences on the page might not have that much of an impact, but they’ve been a big deal in my everyday life and interactions.
This year I started taking better care of myself.
One thing you don’t realize when you become a parent is just how many appointments you have to take care of that aren’t even for you. If each of my 5 kids only has their 1 annual well visit to the doctor, 2 dental visits, and 1 eye exam, with no extras, that’s still 20 appointments to make and keep. Add in specialists and extras, and it’s not surprising I hadn’t made an effort to consistently make my own.
But that changed this year.
I had my annual doctor visit in March, even though things were really picking up with covid. And then I had two follow-ups to talk about depression and to rule out a thyroid issue. I’ve gone to the dentist 4 times in the past month. Yep. Four. None of these things were fun, and I have to psych myself up for them each time, but they’re worth it.
I’ve started doing ab exercises using the Every Mother program to heal my abdominal separation. When I started, I couldn’t even measure my separation accurately because it was so bad, but I’m to the point where I can tell that I have a 3.5cm separation. Which is terrible, but it has a limit now, and that’s something. And the two inches I’ve lost off my waist so far are nice too.
I also learned that if I want (or need) time to myself, I have to take it. No one is automatically going to give it to me, because it’s not something they necessarily notice or realize that I need. As an enneagram 9, it’s hard for me to declare something like that for myself, but sometimes, I have to put my own free time first.
Covid didn’t change as much for our family as it has for others.
I realize that I’m incredibly blessed in this regard, but our day-to-day life isn’t much different than it was before. We already did school at home. Jesse occasionally worked from home before, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch for him to work full-time virtually for awhile.
Sure, we haven’t been inside the library since March (except for the time I had to go pay an $18 fine). The kids don’t come grocery shopping any more, and that’s now a Saturday morning mom-alone-time instead of part of our Monday routine. And, you know, we wear masks.
For the most part though, life is pretty much the way it was, with a few less people. Jesse and I are introverts and homebodies, so our times hanging out with other people were more sporadic than routine. I appreciated being able to keep as much the same for the kids as I could, and also provide a listening ear for friends and family who had much larger shifts to adjust to.
Calm didn’t look like I expected it to, but even with everything that happened this year, I still ended up with plenty of calm in my life, and for that, I feel incredibly grateful. I’m looking forward to what 2021 holds!
My 2019 word was Margin but I don’t remember if I wrote about it here or not? Just including that because it’s fun to look at the past words.