First published in My Swiss Story on December 15, 2020
“New Normal” and “Unprecedented” are just two of the phrases I quickly came to despise earlier this year. They aren’t quite so irritating now, since we’ve been living in this strange new world order for almost a year now. Although at times it does feel like a decade has gone by.
Most of us have come to terms with the fact that this year has truly been like no other, and it will be darn near impossible to go back to the way things were before. If you are reading this, give yourself a big pat on the back.
You made it!
You are resilient!
You are a survivor!
So let me start my reflection with the things I won’t miss about this “unusual” year, and finish with the things… dare I say I enjoyed about 2020.
There is an American phrase that goes “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” – meaning please leave quickly, we can’t wait for you to be gone. That is what I would say to 2020 if it were standing in front of me. So here are the things I am happy to say goodbye to:
Busyness: When we went into our soft lockdown in mid-March, I realized how much of my days were spent rushing from one event to the next. Filling every second with something. The unscheduled-ness that the lockdown brought and the call to slow down and stake stock is something I hope to take into 2021. And will try and leave behind the hurriedness to get kids to school and their activities and just the business / busyness of life.
Anxiety: I struggled with severe anxiety for the first time in my life. The uncertainty of what was happening, and the worry about my loved ones in the US got the better of me. It impacted my sleep, which thus impacted my overall mental and physical health. That mixed with a dose of premenopausal symptoms led to what I literally and figuratively call a “hot mess”. I was lucky enough to recognize it and find natural solutions (increasing my protein and exercise) to get back on track, with only a few minor casualties.
Lack of travel: I understand how completely privileged we are to live in a prosperous and well run country, but if I may whine for just a bit …. I live for vacations! It is what keeps me going most of the time (That and strong coffee). Seriously it is the whole reason we moved to Europe in the first place (travel not coffee)! And while yes we were able to do some fun trips within our adopted country this year, I have to admit that this tiny country is feeling smaller and smaller with each new day, we lack the ability to cross the border. I am looking forward to the time I can plan our next three holidays in advance. I know the travel industry will be happy as well.
Homesickness: As an expat, my heart has always been in two places. I’ve always felt that if necessary I could hop on a plane and fly home to see family (within reason). Not being able to go back has been not just heart wrenching but worrisome. My kids haven’t seen their grandparents for what is going on two years now. It is a bit heartbreaking explaining to my eldest why we can’t go back and that we don’t know when we will be able to visit grandma and grandpa again.
Social Distancing: I like to think I am a healthy mix of introvert and extrovert. I am fine staying at home doing my own thang, but I also love a good networking event or girls night out. Let’s just say there will be lots of celebrating to make up for next year when we can gather again.
When Life gives you Lemons
Now the other side of the coin. Looking back on this crazy year of 2020, there are things – dare I say, I enjoyed about 2020
- Sundays: We are a go go go kind of family. During the lockdown Sunday’s were spent playing games or taking walks, reading or taking naps and I loved it! I declare all Sundays to be lived with intention from here on out.
- Healthy Living: I am eternally grateful that I’ve made health a priority for myself and my family. I believe it has served us well this past year. And dare I say as I enter these crone years, the transition has been pretty smooth sailing.
- Putting down roots: Being an expat was never supposed to be a long term thing for us. The plan was to enjoy a few years here, travel and then head back home. But so much has happened while we’ve been here that has opened our eyes to the seedy underbelly that is our home country. Even though change is in the air and as hard as it is to accept sometimes, this year has made it pretty clear that we will be staying put for a while and making Switzerland our long term home away from home.
- Self-employment: I feel I found my groove this year, helping women simplify their health and make themselves a priority. I am grateful for the women that allowed me to coach them on their health journey. It is truly an honor to be able to do something that helps others, while raising my family on my terms.
- Family: I am so thankful for my amazingly supportive family both here and abroad. I appreciate my supportive and level headed husband and am grateful my kids are in a good place in their lives as well.
- Zoom – yes Zoom or Skype or FaceTime or whatever platform is used to keep in touch with loved ones far away. Thank Goodness it exists.
- Turning 50! (OK maybe not enjoyed) but appreciated. I feel like I am in a good place both health wise and mindset. It’s now my time to be me. It’s just a number right?
- New Leadership: I’m American and hope that the US is on a new path to trust science, be a climate change leader and unite the country rather than divide.
- Walks: Walking outdoors kept me sane this year (and dare I say fit). Whether with friends or family members, I always felt so much better after a walk. It helped with my mental and physical well being, as well as my anxiety. And BONUS I discovered spots in our town I didn’t even know about before.
- My Swiss Story: I’ve met so many amazing women entrepreneurs this year forging their own path in this crazy world. Finding out what their gifts are and calling them forth to help others live their best life. The My Swiss Story editorial board is one of those. I’m extremely honored and humbled to be a part of so many amazing endeavors. I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish in 2021.
So we say hasta la vista to 2020, I say bring on 2021.
Happy Holidays everyone. Stay healthy and happy.