Ahead of the much anticipated New Year, I’m reflecting on the 2020 life lessons one of the most challenging and unexpected years presented.
Hello, there! Wherever you are reading this, I hope you and your loved ones are all staying safe and healthy. Truthfully, I did not plan to publish any kind of 2020 wrap-up because after all this year has brought I wanted to creep out it slowly and quietly. Tip-toeing out the door, though, I can’t deny that it’s been a rather remarkable one. Even if in the worst of ways.
But, when I sat down with my morning coffee on New Year’s Eve, sat beside Christmas lights and in my coziest flannel pajamas, my mind started to move over this year and the 2020 life lessons it has taught as well as brought me.
Did I want more from 2020? Yes.
Did I want more for myself in 2020? Yes.
Did I want more for others in 2020? A thousand times yes.
But this was in fact a year where few, if any, got what they really wanted when the clock struck midnight on January 1st. Instead the last 365 days have shook us to our core, upending a lot of plans and leaving hardships and loss in their place. Many lost loves ones to COVID and had to grieve without a proper way to say goodbye. Many lost their jobs, filed for unemployment for the first time and took their place in long lines for food because they were either completely out of work or their hours had been cut to the point where they couldn’t make ends meet.
2020 Life Lessons of Vulnerability and Patience
The last twelve months have proved that whatever level of comfort we felt leaving 2019 was fragile. And with that, I’m entering the New Year cautiously. Slipping in, not touching anything and quietly taking my place on its couch with patience.
I came into the year 2020 like most: with plans that didn’t come to fruition. Despite being faced with heart-crushing disappointments I’m not sure any of us have had the chance to fully process yet, I can’t deny that despite this year’s darkest moments there has been gifts of light. And so, as 2020 reaches current call time and takes its final bow — I wanted to share some professional and personal memories from my experiences this year.
Certainly there is a lot happening between the lines of the photos below, but it’s a look back at my journey over the last crazy months. May this year that has taught me a lot slip into the rearview mirror. May I bring the 2020 life lessons of patience, courage and enduring hope with me into the New Year and the many more to come. x
What was “yet another” trip to NYC ultimately became a rare one for 2020. Nonetheless, it was one of making memories I’ll cherish forever. Striking visiting the Rainbow Room off my bucket list while watching the sunset over the Manhattan with my sister. A rainy Saturday spent at The Met, taking in the Pursuit of Fashion exhibit and capping that off with a Manhattan flight that solidified my love of bourbon.
From New York Fashion Week to covering the London, Milan and Paris looks that followed from afar – February was once again devoted to my persisting love of “Fashion Month”. COVID-19 was taking a more frequent spot in the news. Armani pulled the plug on in-person guests and showed his Fall/Winter 2020 collection in a runway show with no audience. Models walking the runway to no audience felt jarring and foreign at the time but ultimately would become the norm.
This blustery cold month was also broken up with beautiful snowfalls and time with Rosebud – in her custom made jacket.
I don’t have a lot of personal or professional photos of March. The first half was chaotic and busy moving around. The second half was chaotic and eye opening as everything crashed to a halt. This was the month when my 9-to-5 job was closed in response to lockdown orders. I was temporarily furloughed from that but quite busy on side projects.
I mastered the art of the Zoom calls, with those in attendance making plans for the future at a time when the world outside was changing. I think it’s safe to say we were operating under the false presumption that this pandemic would be over shortly. Ignorance is bliss?
April was a very bleak month with happy moments sprinkled in. At-home life afforded the opportunity to take many walks in the great outdoors. These long walks took the place of trips to the gym as that was closed and provided a great escape. I’d fit these walks in between the national and state press conferences sharing pandemic updates. My heart ached for New York City as they were so critically hit by COVID. Through research, I discovered a number great organizations in the city to support that worked to provide PPE and food to those so desperately in need.
April also was a month to be appreciative of because it brought me in-person memories with my beloved Grandma who had traveled north from Florida. With so many families separated, I was incredibly blessed to have family close to brighten such a dark time.
May was transformative month. The empty roads while commuting locally for work presented the harsh reality of how changed things truly were. It was smooth sailing in what normally would be bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. Working through my first economic downturn was disheartening. Offices were empty and business emails were met with automated responses that highlighted just how severe the number of cutbacks were nationally as well as overseas.
May was another month of adapting, changing plans, adapting, then changing more plans. It was also a sunny month, though. One where I felt very appreciative of my health, my level of comfort and my surroundings. I became even more philanthropically and locally engaged, determined to help close the gap of need as much as I possibly could.
Having a mom with a pool in her back yard and a love for gardening was a gift that kept on giving. Summer weather and time outdoors provided a much-needed retreat from the heartache of the news and a way to unwind after more difficult days.
June was also a month where I did a lot of listening and a lot of reading. The death of George Floyd prompted me to face that simply believing in equality isn’t enough. I started what will be a lifelong commitment to anti-racism. I supported organizations fighting for long overdue justice and read so much I even completed my 2020 GoodReads goal only six months in. An accomplishment I never really pat myself on the back for but at least that was one goal for the year complete! *wink*
Reaping the benefits and joy of connecting with nature, I further developed my photography skills while capturing birds and flora. I also had the immense gift of watching two bluebirds leave their nest for the very first time. (Watch video) I made this salad again and again as it was the most satisfying summer meal against the warm temperatures and humidity. Taylor Swift’s Folklore was endlessly played on repeat as the perfect soundtrack to my somewhat faltering attempts at finding peace and serenity during a continually hard time.
July also presented digital couture week. While different, it was nice to connect with those in Paris and celebrate the inspiring new designs. It was also a bit of a pilot fashion week that previewed the new norm that would continue throughout fashion month in the fall.
In August, I enjoyed a very special trip back in time to the shores and sand dunes of my childhood. I used to spend my full summer every year at my grandparents’ cottage on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. Adulthood may have gotten in the way of spending much time there, but 2020 presented the perfect opportunity to walk the expansive beach and woods of my youth.
This was a trip I took with my grandmother – a blessing in and of itself. We’d laugh while sipping on Chardonnay and watching the nightly sunsets over the bay. I also became enamored with the most adorable squirrel, who I fondly named Chace, and nightly raccoon visitors.
In September, my newly launched podcast with my fashionable partner-in-crime Thomas Monks kicked into high gear. And it was while recording an episode of Fashion Forward Friends that the heart-crushing news alert came of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. It came at a time when I was reading one of her autobiographies and had already photographed myself for a blog post (above) wearing a lipstick made in her honor. A one-of-a-kind pioneer, Ruth was without question a tremendous inspiration to me and women everywhere.
RBG’s untimely passing was no doubt one of 2020’s most cruel twists of fate and overshadowed much of the month for me. Feeling heartbroken and helpless, I reacted by publishing a post with some of her most inspiring quotes — one that would go on to be overwhelmingly the most-read feature on DreaminLace this year.
Honestly speaking, October and November were largely a blur as I worked pretty much around the clock on multiple fronts. Digital fashion month provided lots of topics of discussion for the podcast as well as creating content here on DreaminLace.
I also dedicated a significant amount of time volunteering in the quest to elect Joe Biden as the next president. This was the most all-in I’ve ever been in an election cycle and it was a fruitful experience that enabled me to hold conversations with voters across the United States who too believed in a better future for this country. For the last few presidential elections voting early in-person had become a tradition. The wait was usually around 10 minutes but in 2020? Two hours. 100% worth it!
The election came to pass on November 3rd. Election Day as well as the days leading up to it brought some of the most impactful conversations not just of 2020 but of my life. I’ll never forget phone-banking for Georgia, Florida and Kentucky — but especially Pennsylvania.
One Philly voter shared tearfully that her mother was terminally ill but urged her to leave her side and get to the polls to vote for Biden. Hearing the heartache in her voice and of how important this election was to her and her mother is the resounding conversation I continue to think of heading into the New Year and in anticipation of inauguration day.
As soon as the election was over I fully embraced the countdown to the holidays! I clung to all the joy the festive season brings, creating content while watching Hallmark movies and sipping on hot chocolate in festive mugs. The energy definitely shifted in a positive way and it couldn’t have been more welcomed and appreciated.
I was ready to relax as soon as the last month of the year arrived!! The first couple weeks of December were quite busy, planning and executing a number of virtual events and producing a multitude of content. Then — I took the last two weeks of the year off. And I mean OFF!
Where I normally like to keep working over the holidays, the toll of 2020 was in full effect and I immersed myself into a holiday bubble of baking and enjoying the gift of having family surrounding me. It was a painful month in a few ways, but one that brought as much joy as possible as the year drew to a close. 2021, I will be so glad to meet you!!
WISHING YOU THE HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!
As 2020 falls behind us, I wish you all so much joy and happiness in the New Year!
I also have to thank everyone for being here on DreaminLace. Not to get too geeky with metrics, but traffic around these parts increased by 125% over 2019 and that is huge! I hope in whatever way I was able to provide a happy place to go online during such a tricky year. Thank you oh so much for the support and I look forward to seeing what 2021 brings us all.
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