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This year started off slow and casual, at least for me. Then the outside world came to a screeching halt. This turned everything upside down for a lot of people. I had so many plans before this all happened. Some I had to postpone, and some I had to cancel altogether.
At first I gave into the fear and the anxiety of the Covid-19 media. Then I got a hold of myself and thought: Why not use this time to set myself up for success. We have gone through Stay at Home orders and experienced the empty shelves at the grocery stores.
Then of course school this year has been crazy for the kiddos. School shut down in March. It opened again this fall with many options and new systems in place. This made me wonder how long school would be open and if the kids would be able to learn anything with this sporadic schedule.
In my usual fashion I went to my favorite seed websites in early spring, only to find them either crashed or sold out of a lot of the seeds I wanted.
Does this sound a lot like your year? Probably in some fashion hitting obstacle after obstacle. Maybe you had to close your business for a while or several times. Maybe you or your child had to switch to virtual learning. Maybe you even lost a loved one this year, if you did, I offer my most heartfelt condolences. I know how it feels to lose loved ones well before we think they should go.
This year was hard in a lot of ways. We obviously cannot remain in 2020 physically and really have to move on from it mentally and emotionally. This year made me think about a lot of things. Lord knows we all had plenty of down time to think about what we are doing and how we can improve on it. This is what I have learned.
Always be Prepared
When we were issued stay at home orders we had already depleted a lot of the food storage I had put up. I had already needed to go and get groceries and household supplies when the prices for everything shot up and normal staples were difficult to find. I was able to get supplies in 2 week intervals, but they cost a lot more than normal.
I had found that Walmart.com sells bulk pantry items and will ship them. I had found another outlet store locally and was able to purchase lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and beef there when the other stores were sold out. I was able to buy expensive produce for bargain basement prices. I blanched and froze several pounds of asparagus. I made homemade spaghetti sauce with the case of tomatoes I purchased. They even had dog food and toilet paper.
I now buy a couple extra cans of soup or an extra bag of dried beans when I visit the store. Sometimes I even size up on my bag of brown rice. I have bought a case of shelf stable almond milk and bought an extra turkey when they were on sale for Thanksgiving. As time goes on and finances allow I hope to get my pantry completely stocked little by little.
Learn New Things
Being home more, I like a lot of other people, have turned to YouTube. Thanks to those who have YouTube channels! I have learned so many money saving things. For instance, how to make extracts and apple cider vinegar. I have learned that I can pressure can stews on a camp stove in my pressure canner and dry can dried goods in my oven. I have learned how to make yogurt, cream cheese, and bone broth.
I have learned how to recycle my old cattle panels into trellises for my vine vegetables in the garden. I also learned that I need to start my fall garden in late August. I have learned how to use concrete blocks to make raised bed gardens. I’ve learned that I can plant garlic I bought from the grocery store (but only if the roots are still attached).
I have learned how to make patio furniture and which petunia plants will give me the most bang for my buck next spring. I have had inspiration for many ideas and have made plans for my garden and pantry for the next year.
Have Multiple Sources of Income
Besides my work from home job at AdvaPay Systems as an HR Administrator, I am a seller on Amazon. I have also been working pretty hard on affiliate marketing to start making a little more passive income.
I am trying to work on other streams of income, mostly passive income. I have recently been approved for the Merch By Amazon program. With this program, I upload my graphics to Amazon to print onto T-shirts and hoodies. Amazon markets my products in 9 countries and I make a profit.
I have also purchased one of the more popular blogging courses and have been working through the modules. Soon I plan to be generating more income from this and my almost launched blog. I have many more things I have started working on, but don’t want to say anything just yet. My goal is to have these things set into motion by the summer.
Use your Hobbies
Since I am huge into hobbies and finances were tight this year, I decided to dig into my yarn stash. I crocheted many gifts this year, from blankets and sweaters to coasters. I was able to have a craft day with my kids to make refrigerator magnets and Christmas Ornaments.
I have used my novice sewing skills to make masks for close family and friends. From the looks of it I have plenty more to make before this is all over. I am happy that I have learned this skill to be able to help my family by providing these masks so we can continue to live our lives.
I have worked on making my bullet journal for the new year. I have seen so many wonderful planners and I have taken the aspects that I love in a lot of them to combine in my Bullet Journal. I found a 700 page thick bullet journal book on Amazon this summer to use. I decided to make a big commitment and get it. I like having one journal instead of several that I can lose or misplace.
I recently purchased a soap making class on Udemy during their Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale so that I can start making cold processed soap for fun and maybe profit later down the road. As of lately several stores have had sales on oils, so I am hoping to be able to pick up what I need to make soaps at a fraction of the price. I can’t wait to start making beautiful artisan soaps.
Time with others
I have spent more time with my kids this year than the last couple of years sometimes in person, but mostly on the phone. Recently I have downloaded and installed discord so that my kids and I can talk over the computer while we are doing other things. I love spending time talking with my kids and catching up with them and listening to their ideas.
Over the summer as soon as stay at home orders were lifted, I went to visit my sister where my youngest and I spent almost 3 weeks at her new home enjoying the pool and visiting. I am planning to to visit again this summer.
The kids I still have at home, my eldest and my youngest, we like to watch movies together, play video games or board games together. More recently we spent time putting together a 1000 piece puzzle that turned out to be a very pretty lake side cottage.
My hope is that in 2021 we can spend more time doing fun things and making memories. We enjoy each other’s company and we love exploring new places together. Hopefully we can squeeze in a vacation together over one of the school breaks for the kids.
With the high anxiety year we have had, taking time for selfcare is so vital. Taking care to make yourself feel secure and fulfilled. Things like taking care of your basic needs and finding time to destress. I don’t know if you have noticed but all throughout this post I have mentioned nothing but self care.
I feel like out of all the things I did do, I was lacking in the eating healthy and exercising consistently departments as well as the pampering type of self care. The healthier foods this last year were more expensive and harder to purchase with limited funds. I did find the other outlet grocery store, but they had bulk quantities of the same vegetable or fruit.
Exercise I did minimally between working, teaching, and housekeeping. I was able to go out for walks, but they were not as long as I have needed nor were they daily. I need to pick up more exercise going forward.
My youngest and I have been going outside in the yard more on days that aren’t so cold. We have been exploring the garden area and the nearby woods. The plant life is dying back so it’s easier to make our way through in the woods. We need to stay close to the house as it is deer season here. Lately it has been below freezing so we go outside for some quick chores and back in again.
I didn’t do much pampering over the last year either. I think I had put henna on my hair 2-3 times at most. The only time I painted my nails was when I went to my sister’s in June. I did however relax with some tea every night. I have read books I have enjoyed. I had spent time with loved ones. I also spent as much time as I was able outside. I think going forward I need to make a pampered self care routine.
In the end I accomplished a lot more than I had thought this year. I have grown in many ways. I have learned a lot that I will take with me into the next year. Even with Covid-19 halting parts of our world from time to time, I made the best of the time.
Yes, there were struggles and with some things my timing was off, but I have learned a lot from and because of this year that I can take into the next. I am grateful for 2020 because it made us take a step book and remember what life is about, learning, growing, and connecting. Just because it wasn’t what we expected it to be, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth living through.
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