2020 was a brutal year for all of us, but before it slips away I want to linger for a moment and reflect on what I’ve gained.
Most of us have moved forward since kindergarten without much of an interruption in our habits and routines. We got up early, went to school or work, and kept our lives on track. Until this year when we were ordered to abruptly stop and do everything differently.
In the early days of the COVID shut down, I was relieved to take a break. I had been living on adrenalin for a long time and I was tired of running. Telling people to stay home and cover their face with a mask shut my image consulting business down. Not only did it shut down my present, it shut down my foreseeable future, and with it any need to market my services. I could worry, but there was nothing I could do about it. That too was a relief.
Everyone’s situation is different, but all of us were forced to adapt. I’m certain you’ve shown courage and fortitude in the face of the challenges. I’m hoping you’ve surprised yourself in the creative ways you responded and how beautifully you have gotten by with less.
I won’t call it a gift, but this difficult year brought with it the opportunity to sit in the morning quiet and see what arose. Without structure, schedule, or motivation, what shape did my life take? More importantly, who am I, and what am I really like without the usual outside demands?
Writing “who am I?” feels like a cliche, but I’m curious. What am I taking forward from this extraordinary year, this time out of time?
I’m well aware that my work exists not just so I can earn a living but that its true purpose is to inspire and help others. I demonstrated that to myself in many ways. I made new makeup concoctions because I wanted to, not because I cared about selling them. I gave away products, paintings, and extra art supplies. I offered my time more freely because I could. I “clothed my spirit” exclusively for my own enjoyment. I wrote blogs I hoped would be encouraging. I spent hours at my easel painting butterflies and whimsical mermaids because they symbolized hope and magic. I let go of my need to achieve and compete because who with? For what?
I’ve experienced the joy of creating from impulse, not discipline.
I know more about “who I am” and why I do what I do, and it is a gift.
When I think back on 2020 I’ll remember the terrible hardships and tolls of COVID, the horror of the firestorms, the power of the call for social justice, and the fear and stress I experienced having a sick husband when he wasn’t diagnosed and treated until late in the fall.
I’ll also remember the wise words of one of my art mentors Michael Zieve, when he told me he saw new strength in my work:
“Confidence is bravery becoming more familiar.”
In Spring 2021 we will be able to gather and share creativity and beauty in my new virtual classes. More about that next time, but for a sneak peek look HERE. My wish for you in the new year is that you carry what you’ve learned forward and that knowing you’ve survived brings well-deserved confidence and appreciation.