Dear 2020,

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Dear 2020,

You have been a wild one. The year started out so promising. Work was busier than ever, there were new and old friends to hang out with, and a sort of buzz that brought energy to what should have been another busy year of goal-getting, paying bills, making moves, and maybe squeezing in a vacation or two.

Then March rolled around and everything came to a screeching halt. Somehow the idea of shutting down life for a little while didn’t seem so bad, but then a little while turned into months. Like many, I spent a lot of time tuning into the news and trying to catch the news conferences to hear the latest announcements, and there was a lot of fear. Fear of being in public places. I mean who would’ve thought that my weekly trips to Costco would turn into anxiety-filled shopping trips, where I would hope that necessities would be in stock-I’m looking at you toilet paper! Fear of not having enough money. We either are the person or have someone close in our life who lost a job, was forced into retirement, or took a pay cut of some sort. Fear of really getting sick. No one wanted even the sniffles, because maybe it could be COVID. Fear that this would last forever. I mean there was no end in sight.

In that window of fear, I went into survival mode. I remember when they announced the first shut down and my life flashed before my eyes. How would I pay my mortgage, bills, and office rent? Like many business owners, I adapted and offered my services online. Initially, it didn’t seem like the families I worked with were interested in being seen on the computer, but rather quickly, everyone with access to a computer and internet seemed to adjust to the change in “seeing” people for work, school, and therapy virtually. Many people have asked what it has been like to work with children on the computer. Honestly, some kids have done really well. For others, it has been tough. Through it all, I have been inspired by parents who stick by their kids and “make it work.”Β  I can say now that all the kids I work with have made progress-all in different ways. That’s the beauty of working with kids, they just continue to grow and thrive no matter what. With a grateful heart, I kept about 75% of my business by strictly seeing clients online for a little over 2 months. Figuring out how to get people back in person was a crazy process. I never imagined myself scouring the shelves of Target, Walmart, Longs, and Costco for alcohol, rubber gloves, and disinfectant, but there I was. After spending some time on YouTube, I even figured out how to make a sneeze guard. I would say that in the last month, work has started to stabilize and I now have a mix of online and in-person appointments that keep me busy.

Also during the lockdown, I realized that you can still be very busy even if you’re at home all day. When I wasn’t on the computer, I was trying to find things to do.Β  Baking, cooking, and trying the latest internet crazes like whipping up some dalgona coffee kept me well fed and eating more calories than usual. I mean who would’ve thought I’d use that bread maker that was sitting in my closet so many times this year?! Walks around my hilly neighborhood, around Diamond Head, and later at Ho’omaluhia Garden in Kaneohe, kept me sane and in awe of the beauty that surrounds us. I’ve never watched and taken so many pictures of sunsets in my life. I invested in some Airpods and started listening to podcasts that made me laugh out loud on those walks. I have to thank Dave Chang and Chris Ying for most of those laughs. Lately, I’ve been taking out the Airpods more so I can hear my own thoughts. I also came back to this blog a bit more-writing a few more posts, trying different topics, including fashion which has always been a love. I acutally made a lot of connections because of this blog in 2020, and I am excited for what next year will bring here.

I have become so grateful for the small family gatherings that were possible during this time. I’ve always taken them for granted, but hearing about people not being able to see their close loved ones was heart breaking. Still being able to celebrate birthdays and holidays on a slightly smaller scale was actually really nice. And although having drinks or dinner with friends on the computer wasn’t ideal, it still kept us connected and it has been great to start seeing them in person again.

And then there’s my Bear, my sweet, loving companion of 17 years. She was sick at the beginning of this year, and I thought I would be saying good-bye to her soon after her birthday in February, but I was able to spend more time with her at home and she seemingly got better. I got several months with her, but I noticed that she started to get sick again in November. Because of the ups and downs with her health over the year, I knew that the time would have to come to let her go. I just didn’t know when it would happen, and when it did, it happened so fast. It almost felt surreal and even though it’s been just a month, it oddly feels like she has been gone for a long time. I miss her everyday. I am so grateful for the people who showed up for me and made sure I was ok. I know that going through this pain and having so much love and empathy surrounding me has made me a better person.

I have now heard stories and know people close to me who have experienced serious illness and death in their families this year. Unimaginable pain. I have often wished that I could reach out and give them a hug.

Now that the year is ending, I’m seeing and reading everyone’s “take aways” and what they want to take with them into 2021. And I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure if there’s one specific thing that I’m taking with me. A mantra? A call to action? I’m usually excited to write goals for the new year and I’m a bit hesitant this year, because I’ve now experienced what it’s like to have zero control over circumstances. Yet, I know I’m adaptable, flexible, can problem-solve. I’ve done those things not always gracefully or quietly. In fact, I’ve had many “freak out” moments that I’m a little embarassed of, but things have managed to work themselves out. I still have a roof over my head, a business that pays my bills, and my health.Β  I can only hope that some of the unfinished business of 2020 works itself out in 2021. I know that doesn’t sound super inspirational or strong, but it’s where I’m at today. Being a planner my whole life, this year broke down that need for control. It’s ok if things get postponed. It’s ok to veer way off the path, because there might be a different path I need to be on. There might be reasons and timing that are not evident yet and that’s ok.

I do wish you love and peace in the new year, and I can’t wait to see what your path looks like in 2021. Heck! I can’t wait to see what mine looks like, too! -Erica

 

 

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