the big life lessons i've learned in 2020

The Big Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 2020

December 23, 2020

2020 was a big, crazy year.

It feels like we’ve lived 12 years instead of 12 months.

One year ago today, I was gearing up for what I thought would be a simple 3 month stint of solo-parenting while Nathan was deployed overseas.

I was nervous about the deployment. Solo parenting wasn’t new to me, but solo parenting 3 kids definitely was new. And solo parenting during the darkest and most challenging months of the year felt daunting . 

I was afraid my sleep would suffer, my self-care would take a nosedive, and I’d yell at my kids more than I wanted to.

I’d be lying if I said that none of those fears became reality.

2020 was full of surprises, but an easy, stress-free deployment was not one of them.

In fact, what was supposed to be a 3 month deployment turned in 5 long months, thanks to international travel rules.

I learned a lot in those first 5 months of 2020 and even more in the subsequent 7.

2020 was hard for almost every single person I know.

As this year comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to recognize all of those lessons, big and small, that I learned in 2020.

The Big Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 2020

Soloparenting 3 kids is hard AF. I know this is an obvious one and I think I expected it to be hard. Living that hard has been a whole other experience.

I wish I lived in a small town instead of a suburb. The book that made me realize that is this one.

Teaching my older kids to take small steps towards independence has been the best thing I’ve taught them all year. The fact that Archer can now wipe his own butt successfully and put all of his clothes on is the gift that keeps on giving. Milly making her own breakfast most days makes my life infinitely easier.

Celebrating small wins and keeping track of small moments of daily joy keeps me grounded, grateful, and honest.

The perfect snack is chocolate chips and peanut better eaten with a spoon. You’re welcome.

I spend too much time on my computer — too much time working — and I desperately want to change that. I don’t have answers yet, but working on strategy for 2021.

Sleep is undervalued and I believe that needs to change.

The best store bought oat milk is this one. Believe me. I’ve tried them all. In 2021, I’m hoping to start making my own oat milk if I can get my hands on this baby.

I’ve lost a lot of friendships due to covid, especially locally, which has been hard. I’ve never felt more isolated or alone than I have this year. I am frustrated that it’s because I chose science over socialization and that I was unwilling to sacrifice my integrity or safety just to teach yoga publicly in studios.

I miss having girlfriends who live close by.

I am grateful for the amazing girlfriends I have connected with during this past year online. These friendships have sustained me.

Climbing a tree will almost always improve my mood.

I really like Taylor Swift. And I also can’t believe I admitted this publicly on the internet.

There are 3 daily habits for me that are 150% necessary for my health. Daily movement, daily meditation, daily writing. If I can only do one of them, I will choose movement every single time. Movement is my medicine.

Self-love is a complex, ongoing experience full of contradictions, challenges, and changes. Also still worth it.

I miss wearing jeans.

3rd child means that all previous parenting rules or experiences get thrown out the window. With 3rd kid, pretty much everything goes.

I will no longer tolerate working for pennies. If I’m ever going to teach at a yoga studio again, it will only be if they start paying a living wage.

You can’t Pollyanna your way out of every problem you face. I resent people who do this.

The political issue that matters most to me is climate change. If we do not take care of this planet, nothing else matters.

I’m not a bad mom, even though I often feel that way. I’m a human being who makes mistakes and is doing her best every single day to learn from them and do better.

I don’t miss alcohol or coffee. 

I do miss adult conversations.

Sex at 39 is way better than sex at 19. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 19 year old self that.

My self-care is less about specific actions and more about creating and respecting boundaries, as well as honoring and upholding values.

What my kids often want most is more hugs and laughter. It is my mission in life to continue to give them more of both.

I’m really, really good at teaching yoga. I’m also really really good at second guessing myself, my knowledge, my experience, and my skills.
This needs to stop.

My mission is to normalize the messiness of motherhood and reduce the shame surrounding it. I also want to work to remove the stigma of perfection that permeates every act of motherhood. It’s slowly killing us.

This year has taught me that I value integrity, truth, and justice.

Truth telling is my superpower.

I have a lot of huge dreams and limited time. There’s so much I want to do and I also can’t do it all. And this is super hard for me because I want to do it all.

Laughter, good food, great sex, fantastic stories, walking in the woods, dancing with my whole entire body, running into the ocean, and holding my kids as they fall asleep are the things that make me feel the most alive.

This is the list. It might keep growing in the next week and that’s ok. I plan on adding to this lost every day until the day I die. Learning is a lifelong endeavor.

I’d love to know what you’ve learned from this upside-down, inside-out, wackadoo year. What has 2020 taught you? What are you taking forward into the new year?

Let me know in the comments below!

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