LOOKING BACK AT 2020
I think it’s safe to say that none of us saw 2020 turning out the way it did.
Amidst the hardship, grief and isolation, I see how much we have all grown in strength and determination. Confined to our four walls, many of us have been forced to confront the bad habits and limiting beliefs we’ve been managing to avoid dealing with for a long time. We’ve all had to face our own demons, whether they manifest as loss, loneliness, addiction, dysfunctional relationships, resistance to slowing down or lacking the motivation to get out of your pjs. I just want to take a moment and say: that shit is hard!
There’s been good parts to this year too, even if we can only think of a few!
Reflections on 2020
Last year I started to photograph all the day-to-day things that inspired me. It showed me which parts of my life light me up the most and basically became a gratitude journal. It was especially cool because it helped me be grateful for – and document – the little things as well as the big events. Like the “well done you got out of bed today” sleepy selfies after a bad night. It turns out I really have a thing for sunsets too haha – they took up a good proportion of my photos!
Flash forward to 2020 and I still love this visual gratitude journal. Maybe the little things have been even littler this year, but I’m still so grateful for them all. I’m so glad I have a house in the suburbs, near a park and the countryside. I feel so much gratitude for the “sanity walks” that Mike and I have been on (almost) every day.
Summer felt like it lasted longer, even if we didn’t go on holiday, and I’ve become some kind of budding ornithologist, and love watching the birds that visit my garden. On a wider, more global scale, these stories on The Guardian show how much effort and work has gone into conservation this year. It’s a welcome break from all the otherwise depressing news!
2020 Detours and Pivots
On signing the lease, our energy quickly got diverted into all the DIY – converting a 2-storey office space into a yoga and pilates studio. Within a few weeks we had a beautiful centre comprising of 4 studios, 2 therapy rooms, reception, office – and far too many bathrooms!
I started out the year holding my breath, waiting for the paperwork for our studio to be finalised. I was terrified that it would fall through, and all my energy was devoted to crossing my fingers, making seemingly fragile plans and trying to exercise patience.
Lockdown began 6 weeks after we opened our doors. I am so proud of Rachel and I for staying committed to our goals, pivoting our businesses, and even logging onto Zoom (along with the result of the world).
Heartbreak and Strength
2020 was the year I got pregnant, a fleeting moment of joy which quickly turned into a waking nightmare. I became severely sick and we ended up losing our baby. 2020 was also the year of exhaustion and taking each day as it came. Of being grateful for naps and reading and slowing down.
It has also been a year of recognising huge power for me – as with many of us, as I described above. I feel like I know my own strength and worth more than ever before. I am physically stronger (now the proud owner of 4 pack abs) but I also know my own mental and inner strength. I’m not afraid to speak up for I need, whether it’s asking for help, resting or accountability.
I know that I can handle life’s challenges and come out swinging and, if you’re reading this, so can you.
01. “I can do this, I am doing this” – continued. This has been my mantra since 2013/4 when I really started to dramatically change my life and get out of my victim mindset. I slowed down to almost a standstill in April/May, but I’ve spent the last few months building consistency in my practices (yoga, meditation, strength training), my relaxation time, and my teaching and content creation. I feel strong, able and I know my potential.
02. Becoming a DIY/decorating
enthusiast crazy person After painting the studio in January (all 1600ft2), I couldn’t put the paintbrush down, even when lockdown hit. At home this year I have repainted the living room, hallway, stairs, bathroom – and then decided to paint all the downstairs flooring white. I’ve Polyfilla-ed and sanded and drilled and scraped paint from entire rooms. I now never want to open another paint tin again but I am proud of my achievements. I mean, just a year ago I thought I was great at DIY because I could assemble IKEA furniture and change a lightbulb. Whole new respect for tradesmen now!
03. Believing and investing in myself I’m doing my advanced yoga teacher training and a 12-month advanced business training at the moment. Lockdown has also given me time to devote back to myself, and also allowed access to incredible teachers all round the world thanks to the online space.
04. Strengthening our relationship Our relationship and our communication has seriously up levelled this year. Our relationship is so strong now, and I’m so glad we spend most of every day together – far more than the odd evening and weekend before this year. We’ve 100% encouraged each other to chase our dreams, and we’ve subsequently both taken massive leaps of faith in our lives and work. I feel like we both have more insight into what we want from life and we are cheering and supporting each other to go get it!
05. Turn down the volume This was the year that I said “enough is enough” to information consumption! I started to get to the point of sensory overload. I’ve stopped reading the news, listening to negativity and scrolling my life away. For a while I even had to stop listening to music, having the lights on at home and messaging anyone, but I’m making progress with that now! I’ve barely used my phone lately, and I feel so much more grounded and focused as a result.
A Final Note
Although this year has been SO hard, there have definitely been some highlights there too! I’m so grateful for daily sanity walks, nature, yoga, reading, taking rest, zoom dates with friends, practice, consistency, livestreaming gigs from my sofa, deep and meaningfuls, growing my hair and connecting to my mental strength more and more.
I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with filming for YouTube over the last month or so, and I’m so psyched to get back to filming next week. I’m grateful for technology for keeping us all connected, and I’m grateful for learning how to switch off.
I’m grateful for everyone who I have gotten to work with this year. Thank you for sticking with me, and for joining me on Zoom if you were able. Thank you for all of your outpourings of love for our studio over the last few months that we were able to reopen, and I cannot wait to see you in person again soon!
I am so grateful to you (yes, you!) for reading this, and I am grateful for not bypassing this year. Although the “writing off 2020” message is an appealing one for sure, I think there is so much we can learn and be grateful for, even amidst the pain and discomfort.
There will be more and more positive progress in the next few months, and I really encourage you to create a gratitude list too. It makes the world of difference. I would love to hear what did 2020 meant to you!
We have so much to look forward to as well – even more than festivals, hugs and seeing each other’s chins.
Happy New Year!