Blessings & challenges of 2020
Health and wellness. These have never been more threatened than in the past year, and on a global scale, causing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Facing the unexpected pandemic has had its positive side, too. It’s realigned our values and opened our hearts. It’s helped us to put our lives into perspective.
As we reflect on our blessings, we realize how fortunate we truly are. The challenges dim in light of them.
Take a moment now to draft a list of your blessings and your challenges of 2020. For inspiration, read on!
Being a Business Owner
Meet Andrea Parros, owner, Red Fern restaurant
Andrea beautifully describes her experience! “My greatest blessing in 2020 was the pandemic.”
What? Did she say the pandemic was her greatest blessing? OK. Let’s hear her out.
“When the virus caused the shutdown, I finally got to slowwww dowwwwn.”
Oh, I see now. You got off the hamster wheel most Americans have been riding the past decade.
“I opened the restaurant seven years ago, and have been running at full speed, virtually non-stop ever since.”
Classic business owner scenario, myself included. Be careful entrepreneurs! This could be you if it hasn’t already been. Many if not all entrepreneurs believe that if they follow their dream and run their own business, they’ll be happy and in charge of their calendar. They visualize all this free time. And then, reality kicks in. 8-hour days become 12 and 5-day weeks become 7.
Here’s a safe way to manage and avoid this rollercoaster. Mindfulness. According to Andrea, it took the pandemic to bring her to the beauty and stillness of the present moment.
“I got to experience the most quiet & solitude I had in ages. It was so calming to hear my own voice, my own spirit again.”
Meditation. Try that now. Close your eyes. Take a few long breaths in and out. Listen. First to everything around you. Then to the sound of your breath. Say to yourself, “Breathing in I breathe in. Breathing out, I breathe out.” Doing this even for 1 minute will bring you back to yourself and the present moment.
Another classic example of entrepreneurship is getting pulled away from your passion. You end up running the day-to-day admin and business affairs vs. what you actually love to do.
“I hadn’t cooked or baked for the restaurant since we opened, yet that was one of the main reasons I opened the business - because I LOVE to cook! To be able to experience the joy of creating food again was just such a blessing.”
Her biggest challenge? “Navigating business operations and … being mindful of how my decisions would affect over 40 staff!”
Remember to support your local restaurant. Order take out. You are not only treating yourself to a delicious meal, but are keeping business owners in business and their staff safely employed.
Losing a job that she really enjoyed was difficult for Shoshana Cherney. You may know her via her infamous Hula Hooping videos!
She enjoyed working in restaurants, and developed a goal to become the next great chef. In March, she was about to start a new position at a Michelin star restaurant when everything changed. Eventually she found a job as a cashier.
With true spirit she shares, “My greatest blessings this year honestly have to be my greatest challenges. These challenges changed me for the better and pushed me to adapt. They’ve shown me how strong of a person I truly am.”
The pandemic effected our economy worldwide, and hit home for many. Ellen Fleche had to enter early retirement, and has experienced a feeling of loss not only for her work but for her co-workers. None-the-less, she is grateful for the health of her loved ones.
While her business has stayed afloat, Artist Andrea LiquidArt has found the closing of local resources to be a challenge, but the national connections with art lovers a tremendous blessing!
Family, Health & Music
We’ve been advised to keep our pods near and dear, and for most of us that means spending more time if not all of it with family. It may be a blessing of a challenge. By bringing creativity and balance into the mix, the blessings rise to the top.
You may be familiar with Brenda Bolton Tremblay, and wake up to her music programs on WXXI. Her greatest blessing in 2020 was to make music herself. I love that! She also took advantage of having her kids back from college by going on family adventures.
Her greatest challenge? “Tearing myself away from the news and staying centered and focused. Following the election and the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, I often felt overwhelmed and riveted by the history unfolding in front of our own eyes. It’s been an amazing year!”
It certainly has. Surround yourself with music and family to bring balance into the mix. For Andy Willoughby learning how to play Mustang Sally counts as a blessing. Awesome!
Some of us have had to face our own health scares like Ken Columbo who survived a heart attack. Thank God & Goddess! While others have managed the well-being of their loved ones like Marty Magoon whose father has been isolated in a nursing home. Knowing that he’s OK is a comfort, but not being able to see him has been tough.
Geri Billotti-Van Auker shares this experience but balances it with the joyous birth of her first grandchild.
Yvonne Ventura misses the freedom to socialize with her friends but appreciates the generations of loving family surrounding her with laughter and joy.
Pets! Pets! Pets!
On a recent zoom call, everyone was accompanied by their pet! It seems that during a time where socialization is on the freeze, adopting a pet makes it to the top of the list.
I got to meet Cookie, the lovable companion of Kimberly Patrick Russell. Whether snuggling or taking walks together, this furry friend helps Kim to adapt to the strange new world.
Dating During a Pandemic
Do you even dare to kiss? This has been the challenge hurled at Beth Eustis. We used to be roomies back in NYC, both with a love for theatre. It looks like we’ve maintained similar paths. Her greatest blessing last year was being approved to be ordained in the United Church of Christ.
Thank you to everyone who shared! May 2021 be filled with wishes answered.
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Alana writes her monthly column 'Mind, Body, Spirt' for RochesterWomanOnline focusing on the balance of all 3 in a creative manner, filled with inspiration.