Reflecting on 2020 & The Many Lessons Learned
Well, here we are... the year I have coined as the "Year of the Unexpected." 2020 has been difficult, but as I progressed through it, I recognized that it was up to me on the perspective and approach that I took. When I changed my perspective and mindset to find what I like to call "pockets of gratitude," I was enlightened in more ways than one.
I was enlightened about myself, about others that I thought I knew, about things that mattered, something that didn't, as well as reconfirming my purpose in life. Owning and operating Queen Anna House of Fashion and One Posh Closet in such a time as this and being the person I am was necessary. The platforms that I have been blessed with and the opportunities I have been afforded allowed me to do things this year I would have never thought I would do in a million years. Even now, I still find myself challenged, mentally, physically exhausted, and at times emotionally drained. All areas of my life have their own set of challenges; as a working mother who now homeschools her children, a wife, identifying as a Black Woman, and let me not forget operating the two businesses that I own..but even in the midst of ALL of that, I am yet, filled with joy.
One of the first things that I learned this year that has changed my perspective on life is that autopilot is only made for automobiles and airplanes but not for humans. Autopilot is only supposed to be a guide and used for a while. The plane, train, or car can only go so far before stopping so that it can be refueled. Not us as humans, we go, go, go until we can't go anymore.
We continue to press on as if our life depends on it, not realizing that actually, our life is counting on us stopping to refuel, just like cars. Before you know it, you look up, and then once 5 pounds 11-ounce baby you brought home from the hospital is in high school...at least that's what happened to me anyway.
I learned that toilet paper is essential in a pandemic and not dry noodles or rice. At least that what the isles showed me when we walked through the stores earlier this year. And Amazon confirmed it when they stopped my auto-shipment of toilet paper that I have had for years due to the shortage. You do learn something every day. When we have our financial planning session, I am eager to buy stock in whatever toilet paper we can so that the next time we have a pandemic of this size, our rear end will be covered! HA! (super corny, but I had to.) But in all realness, I think stock in toilet paper is the way to go for sure.
I learned that people believed that we lived in a society where all men were treated as equals; and until the murder of George Floyd, had no idea that police brutality, racism, or the systems that allow it to be woven into our lives so much that it is undetectable, was a thing.
I learned that l had been lulled to sleep in the comforts of my own privilege and keeping my kids safe that I forgot to put into action anything for the kids of others who have the same skin color as my kids but not the same privileges. As other people were becoming woke to the concept of racism, police brutality, and its systemic roots, I was coming to grips with knowing all about it and not actively doing what I could to take a stand against it like I do anything else that goes against my value system of dignity, love, and respect for all humankind.
I learned that there is power in your voice and that as minuscule as I thought it was, I realized that my voice carried weight. It mattered, and some people wanted to hear my voice more, and these people were not friends, family, or loved ones. They were people who truly wanted to know more about my world as a Black woman entrepreneur who was also a mother and a wife and valued my experiences motivating many to also use their voice and do what they could for not just me but others that look like me. The adventures of hurt, loss, and despair have been felt in several ways this year by all. Still, I used that emotion for good. I used my voice to start my own podcast on uncomfortable but necessary conversations. Although the topics of discussion are not topics that I wish I needed to talk about, it was still enlightening and liberating, to say the least, that I could use my voice for something bigger than myself and that people cared about what was being said.
I learned that if I went on that TV show "Are You Smarter Than a Second Grader," I might not win if I couldn't use Google. The number of times that I had to research how to do homework with my second grader this season as we were homeschooling was wild. But it showed me that there was a part of his life that I had been so removed from as it relates to him and homework that I need to rethink how we got to that point, so I can know and understand his assignment and not miss out on this part of his life even as an entrepreneur. Believe it or not, I love having our kids at home as long as I was there too.
There is always a level of "mom guilt" that I experience on any given day. Still, nothing compares to the level of mom guilt I feel when my humans are all at home, and I am at work 8-10 hours of the day. So the days that I am home with them and we get to work in the same space, eat lunch, and take gym breaks together was a joy and one that I would not have brought the chance to experience if it weren't for COVID.
2020 exposed many things and people for who and what they indeed are, and that includes me. I had so many areas in my life on autopilot that until I slowed down and experienced a complete shutdown in my business and wholly altered life as I know it at home, did it rear its ugly head. It was like I had miniature holes in areas of my life that were covered by cute little area rugs, and they had been there so long that I never questioned them or what was under them. It wasn't until COVID hit, and I had the chance to do some internal "house cleaning," did I notice that there were areas that needed to be addressed, internally and naturally, too. Nothing, and no one, went untouched by the pandemic or the racially driven civil unrest in the world, but we all had choices to make afterward. Were we just aiming to get by and wait for things to pass over, or were we impacted enough to make life-altering changes for the betterment of ourselves and for others? I chose the latter.
2020 and all that came with it doesn't end on January 1st, 2021. The change that everyone is so eagerly looking for started many weeks back for me and my personal "mini holes." If I need to put a date on it like we traditionally do, 2021 started about 6 weeks early for me, and I have been on a mission to get things in order ever since. It was when my perspective on things changed that I felt like everything else did too. My mission as a mother, wife, and entrepreneur has changed and very different than ever before. It feels good to know that for once in my adult life that, I didn't "auto-pilot" these findings. Instead, I was forced to slow down, live, listen, learn, and adjust. If it weren't for 2020, I can't say that I actually would have and for that reason alone, I will be forever grateful for the lessons learned, the challenges that made me tap into my bucket of resilience that I never knew was there, for the lives changed by my voice and for all that is to come from the many holes in my life that I had the chance to fill.
I talk through my process on January 16th and walk you through a strategies that may help get your thoughts in order as we progress through another year of life. Cheers to 2021 as we enter into a New Year, and cheers to you for being a part of it along with the rest of the Queen Team and me. We are grateful for all the support and look forward to being a part of great things with you in 2021.