If you can and have the means, I highly recommend donating to Family Meal, a Portland-based nonprofit designed to help food service and agricultural workers during a medical debt crisis. Your help right now is needed more than ever. Thank you.
Happy Holidays! (Or is it too late to say that since there’s only new year’s left…?)
How’s everyone’s holiday going?? I’ve slightly livened up since my last post, which was an active exercise in being more than just a snail in distress (have you seen how sad it looks?? But I digress.) So in the spirit of what I wanted last post to be, I thought it would be great to glean some lessons from what many have deemed the “worst and longest year ever” to take into a hopefully better 2021. So let’s just get into it – we’ve got a few things to get into!
4 Realizations That We Had in 2020
Realizing how much we took for granted
Remember when initial lockdowns were announced in March, and most people mourned not being able to go into restaurants and gyms? Well, almost ten months later and we’re still distraught about not getting to go into these places. Some of our favorite restaurants and businesses have been forced to close, some temporarily but many permanently. We’ve watched as legislation have greenlit and just as quickly pulled back on plans for reopening, which hasn’t helped ease people’s worries either. Not to mention all the protests from anti-maskers and gymrats wanting their gyms to reopen that aren’t helping matters with improving… but through out it all, it’s been a huge wake up call as we’ve mourned closures and gotten frustrated with how others are handling the pandemic, we’ve at least woken up from the myth that there is such a thing as “normal” ever again.
Appreciation for nature
What was one of the first things health and government-affiliated organizations said about the (limited) activities we could still do after most establishments were closed due to lockdown? Go outside.
So outside we all went. Hiking, biking, walking, running… I can’t count the number of hiking and outdoor hangout photos that were all over my social media feeds. Many of these people I would say would’ve most likely never gone outdoors as much were they not restricted to the outdoors being the only options for going anywhere. It’s been really refreshing, honestly, to see how many more people are appreciating the outdoors (even if I personally haven’t done as much outside perusing as others). But the great thing is that most everyone can enjoy outside and did take advantage of the nice weather (while it lasted).
Improving accessibility (and exposure to the lack of)
So everything was moved to be out of office to be work from home, just as schooling all around the world moved to being online. Sure, some schools went back to being in person and requiring masks, but the vast majority have remained online. We saw that the ability to have more accommodations actually was possible, even after being told no so many times, but may not continue if conditions improve. But as some found WFH bearable or even better than going into the office, we saw a lots of issues from being strictly WFH, parents struggling to balance work and raising children, plus many students without sufficient Internet connection, devices, and support systems to be able to make the transition smoothly. There was even talks that the Internet could “break” because of the exponential increase in Internet usage at the beginning of the pandemic. (Thank goodness our Internet has not broken LOL… can you imagine? *shivers*)
Reevaluating ourselves, what, and who we keep around
As we slumped away in isolation in the first couple months of the pandemic, many of us went through trying to deal with loneliness and what to do with ourselves as huge parts of our identities slipped between our fingers: jobs, hobbies, opportunities, plans, fun, and most importantly just so much hard work. We all really either buckled down in our loneliness to figure ourselves out, or are still trying to figure ourselves out – that’s okay, we’re still in this damned pandemic and without a formal end date in sight. We’ve gone through growing our own produce, making way too much bread, the “Quarentine 15” and a fitness kick to get rid of the weight, picked up random hobbies… and more!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the social reckoning that was the Black Lives Matter movement. So we picked sides and we’re still dealing with how to deal with each other… I will reiterate that Black Lives Matter and that there’s really no other answer to that.
So, as enlightening as many of those realizations were, there’s plenty of takeaways – maybe you even learned some more about the state of the world in reading this! – but for me, I think it was definitely a rocky… very rocky… journey. Here’s the takeaways I got from it:
A job and career isn’t everything – live a little
That perhaps the end game of our lives is to actually… live. I know, it sounds so simple but I think many of us are caught up in all of that, especially when most of what is engrained in you is that you have to find a good job in order to be of value. I’m glad that many of us, myself included, have gotten this idea punched into us, because as one of my friends put it, “if the pandemic didn’t happen, I’m pretty sure you would’ve worked yourself to death.”
But the whole realization is ironic, right? I can feel the eyerolls – but if you know me at all, you’d know I’ve always been laser focused on climbing up the career ladder into some comfy cubicle at a major corp from the get-go. Definitely had some major reckonings with my sense of worth after some lack of internship qualms, figuring out strategies to cope in the absence of those things (lots of strategies… but most of it sounding like I’m just talking to myself)
I’ve realized as I continue applying to internships and jobs, trying not to dread too much about post-grad life, that I’ve taken a hard look at things and talked myself down from those high expectations. Little by little, day by day, trying to be less the caffeine-blooded workaholic and more a human with an interesting, fun life. And I hope you are too! This unlearning and broadening of what our expectations should be is a difficult and strange process, so don’t feel really rushed if you’re feeling stuck. We’re all stuck, in some way.
Reexamined health and dedicated to becoming healthier
As I mentioned earlier that many struggled with the “Quarantine 15,” I think with people really taking up cooking and baking as skills to learn or a hobby to take on, that people have shifted their views on health – just a little. There was the huge blow-up of rapid result weight loss challenges and calendars like Chloe Ting’s 2 week shred, Blogilates’ 14 day Quarantine Workout and more. Despite all the gymrats being sad about their primary workout destinations being closed, I think it’s a huge win for many people who hopped onto this trend and were able to start somewhere on their fitness journey and make progress. Hooray for them!
I didn’t have that weight gain struggle at the time. Hearing about others’ weight gain honestly just fueled me into wanting to do more working out because I knew how bad my eating could get. But besides that, I realized I could actually address my wellness since I didn’t have to be going to this thing or that thing as an excuse to be negligent of my health.
Some milestones I got through this year is my (almost) full year of intermittent fasting, be able to do the right and left splits, do 100 burpees, get into a training program, and fully tackling my weight loss with more exercise and emphasis on nutrition. I’m trying to get more into running (slowly… but surely…) and learning to be more appreciative of everything my body does instead of feel disgusted by it. So… I would say I’ve made a lot of progress! I’m using the 2021 Fit Planner from Popflex Active and honestly so stoked to have this as supplementary material in my journey~ (Not sponsored)
Food is an essential, not an enemy
Kind of tied in with people reexamining their health, with the huge layoffs and decreased work hours that people ended up with due to COVID, that having to redo budgets played a huge role in people reexamining cooking, restaurants and general approaches to food. In what I would say a lot of people went through is either leaning into food, or really detaching themselves from it. I mean, the majority it appears to have leaned into it with the whole “Quarantine 15” and all, but in all honesty I’m kind of glad people did. It’s a lot better than having to navigate these rollercoaster feelings with really unhealthy habits. I am fully aware that emotional dependency on food is negative, but it’s more of a greater indulgence in food as a comfort – I’m not saying to have eating be your coping mechanism, but that it’s okay to treat yourself a little more if it’ll make you feel better on occasion.
On the flip side, this year was definitely one where I was more vulnerable, that’s for sure. I admitted that I’m not a great cook, some of my eating struggles and shaky relationship with alcohol. I think I’ve definitely talked much more about my journey there already, so I won’t rehash it here. It really went from 0 to 100 real quick!
I really have to attribute all my growth to the people who have helped me along the way, namely the professional help that I got to talk about my eating. I hope if you’re like me in that sense at all, that you’re able to talk to someone too, or at least plan to. Seriously – super life changing. And with that, I hope that these takeaways really do help you in growing more and stronger than ever as we head steadfast into 2021.
Although the future looks a bit bleak right now, I have faith that all of you could truly have an amazing 2021 – I mean look at all the advice I’ve given you! You’re so well-equipped! (KIDDING!) Jokes aside, I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday, managing as well as you can. I love you darling readers so so so so much, you all truly made 2020 bearable for me by supporting my blog.
Stay safe, hopefully you’re staying warm and feeling festive as well, and I will see you…. NEXT YEAR! ❤
Have you eaten yet? If not, don’t forget to!