2020: What a year 🤯

Its crazy to think that no matter where you lived in the world, the title of this blog post for the end of the year 2020 is one that we can pretty much all relate to. Its a quote that I've heard repeated over & over in the past 6 months as if the past 6 months have been the same day; a day of reflection looking back at what we've been through in the previous days before that consistently felt like "Enough already. This is the longest year ever." The amount of chaos that we all collectively lived through by April was enough to feel the hurt for a couple years worth & yet we all tried to keep our heads up & press on not knowing what lied ahead. And here we are at the end of 2020, a year that will most likely be talked about in our grandchildren's history "books" or whatever way they are absorbing information through at that time as a time like "The Great Depression" that we learned about 100 years ago.


For those of us that have survived this year, I believe it is our responsibility like the generations before us to represent this time well. To be the survivors that future generations can talk to & be the story tellers of what it was like "back in our day"... the thing I'm most interested to know however is are we going to be looking back at a single year in history, or a time period (2020-20XX)? How long will this current stage last?


As a person who feels most creative when I'm traveling & doing work around the country or even in other countries like Australia, I have definitely taken a hit to that part of my brain... HOWEVER it has allowed me to not use that part of my personality as a creative crutch in ways. Not having the things that usually inspire me has forced me to think of different ways to tap into that creativity & dive deeper into avenues that I haven't explored as much. For example, my love for Australia has either taken me to Australia or at the very least spent time with Australians since 1999. One reason I love Australian culture so much is the fact that travel is part of their culture. 2020 will be the first time in 20 years that I haven't really shared any actual facetime with some Aussie friends & that absolutely must change next year 🙏.


This absence of a culture that I adore so much made me finally try something I've been wanting to for years & that was the exploration of cooking my favorite Aussie snacks, Meat pies & Sausage rolls! This year I finally took the time to look up some recipes, watch a bunch of youtube videos, chat with some Aussie bakers online, share recipes & mix it all together to make my own. I even ordered official Aussie "tomato sauce" & Vegemite to use & give it a genuine Aussie kick. I do have some Australian friends in town that I plan to share my creations with this upcoming 2021 Australia day & I even unexpectedly have gotten the approval of one of my favorite local coffee shops to sell my pies & sausage rolls through them 🤯. Its an avenue that would need a bit more research & most likely an official licensing or class to learn to properly prepare meat items to the public, but Its been one of my proudest creations in a long while.


One of the best parts of learning this new skill was sharing it with my family. I feel I now have a special baked item I can create for years to come for family & friends that comes along with years of stories & a new desire to share a part of a culture I'm so very fond of. Hopefully this "quarantine baby" of a creative idea won't be lost in this year, but will be something I can potentially turn into something more in the future.


Something that I've learned most about in 2020 is the value of some of the smallest things we don't typically think about on a daily basis like... TOILET PAPER! Haha, but seriously I value TP now in a way I never I thought I would. Another one of the things I've learned to value more that I've thought about in the past is time. One of my favorite quotes about time that I heard this year is this: “If you want to know the value of one year, just ask a student who failed a course. If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet. If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus. If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident. And if you want to know the value of one-hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics.”


Marc Levy




And something I took the time to write this year was a personal message to my children:


Advice for my Children


Smile. There’s always someone going through something hard, and you may have the chance to be the one bright part of their day. Smile because you might need to be your own bright part of your own day.


Cry. There are reasons we have tear ducts & releasing tears from your body when you need to release them is far healthier than letting them pool in your soul and drowning you from the inside. Cry out for help when you need it, it lets you know how to be there or how not to be there for someone depending on who you reached out to. Always reach out. Always.


Believe.

BElieve

THEre is

GOOD IN THE WORLD.

“Be the good in the world.” Our family believes in God, others do not. We have faith in what we do not see, and that is confusing. But it’s also confusing to take away hope from someone who has faith. So keep the faith. Don’t keep a religion. Faith is believing, religion is habit. It can be good and it can be very bad to have habits. Keep the habits that keep you healthy, & try your best to rid yourself of the ones that don’t. The Merriam Webster definition of habit is “a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior.”

Don’t “settle” or be “usual”. Do things with intent & be happy to be unique, but understand that being unique doesn’t mean you are the only one with ideas, with dreams, with a plan, or with the answer... if you act that way you may get to be unique by yourself.

Learn. There is so much to learn and so little time to do it, if you think you having nothing left to learn, than you have stopped truly living. Living is a gift & learning is part of that. Learn to enjoy the gift of learning.

Create. We all have purpose, and that purpose is to create. We were all created to create. Create art, create community, create a business, create food, create a home, create love.


Enjoy. There is an entire world out there that you can never see all of in a lifetime, so get out there and see it. No job or no single person is worth not experiencing and enjoying the beautiful world around you. Enjoy, explore, & indulge & leave places better than you found them when possible.

Give. There is a time and place for everything, and giving reminds you that the world isn’t completely about you. Give your all in everything you do, but don’t give up your soul. If giving starts to TAKE away from you, stop the giving. Whatever it is. Your time, your charity, your love, your effort, nothing is worth giving so much that you give away your joy. Keep that, cherish it, because you can’t give any of these other things without it.

Forgive. Theres no point in holding something against some one and giving them control of your emotions. Letting go of control is the best way to keep control of yourself. Never lose that. Forgive because you have been forgiven, that part of our faith is why it is so important to believe. To believe is to love, and to love is forgive.

Love. There is no greater commandment than to love God & love others. Keep it simple, you don’t have all the answers so just love. And again, don’t forget to smile, it always helps.


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