Hi, guys! I hope everyone is having a nice summer! I’ve been a little behind on the blog because I’ve been focused on enjoying the gorgeous weather and have also been binge watching so much TV, which isn’t usually my pastime of choice, but hey, that’s 2020 for you. (In case you’re in need of TV recs, I have especially been loving The Babysitters Club and Selling Sunset on Netflix.) To top it off, I’ve had a lot on my plate work-wise, and now that there is less of a physical barrier between work life and home life, I haven’t found it as relaxing at night to sit with my computer on my couch, since that is what I do all day now, hah!
Anyway, last week, Grace Atwood—who one of my favorite bloggers to follow—posted an Instagram that highlighted five good things about her 2020 so far—and I just loved having the opportunity to reframe a shit year and think about it more positively. Since I saw her post, I’ve been thinking about the good in my year, and that’s usually when I know I’m onto a good topic to write about here. While I’ve talked about some of the good in my year disparately across several blogposts and over on my Instagram, I thought it’d be nice to put all my thoughts in one place today.
Like many people have said, I think everything that has happened this year was the universe’s way of forcing me to slow down and pare down. While I look forward to the day the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, there are definitely things I’ve learned about myself and habits I’ve formed over the past four months I want to take with me into whatever the new normal happens to be. (And given I won’t be back in an office this year—I still think that destination is pretty far up the road.)
Anyway—I’ll cut to the chase because I want to get back to watching The Babysitters Club (seriously watch it!), but here are five good things about my 2020 so far. I’d love to hear something good about your year! x
01. I’ve gotten to spend more time with family
During the height of shelter in place, I saw my sister and my cousin once a week. (They’re roommates.) They live nearby in Arlington and outside of our little “germ herd,” we weren’t seeing anyone else. My sister would come pick me up and bring me home, or sometimes we’d hang at my place. This was truly the savior of my mental health during those days—living alone can be isolating sometimes in normal times, let alone in the middle of a global pandemic. Thursdays quickly became “our nights” and we would order takeout from a different restaurant each week. We did everything from Chinese food to Shake Shack to more upscale restaurants. We even had a few theme nights—my favorite was tiki night where we all had to dress up like we were on vacation.
Even now that things have opened up, I’ve kept the group of people I see very small and mostly hang out with just my family. My typical wild Saturday night plans these days are going to my parents house in the suburbs for dinner—my mom has been cooking us all our favorite meals and my dad has our favorite wines stocked up. We always have a happy hour, then migrate to the formal dining room for dinner, and then we go on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. We usually round the night out with a game—Pit has been a recent favorite! While I definitely want to live somewhere I can walk to restaurants and shops, this whole pandemic has reminded me just how nice a suburban life can be!
02. I’ve got 90 minutes of “bonus time” in my day
My commute door to door is about 45 minutes, meaning I used to spend around 90 minutes each day commuting. I never really minded my commute for the most part—I pretty much used all my time on the Metro to read or catch up on Instagram. It was nice to have that space as a break in my day between my work life and my home life. But now that I don’t have a commute, I’ve freed up a pretty significant amount of time in my day. I spent most of my morning commute sleeping in—I get about an extra hour of sleep everyday now since I don’t wake up early to get ready for the day. (Other than sunscreen, I don’t wear any makeup these days and let’s just say my outfits are very casual.) And I spend most of my evening commute time going on nice long walks around my neighborhood. Which brings me to…
03. I’ve explored so much more of Dupont Circle
Before quarantine, other than a random walk around my neighborhood here and there, it wasn’t really part of my routine. I’d walk to get places in my neighborhood, sure—the grocery store, restaurants, the Metro—but I rarely walked for exercise or leisure. Now, it’s rare if I don’t take a daily walk! I’ve explored so much of Dupont Circle I would have missed out on—I know all the side streets, have my favorite houses picked out, and even discovered some new restaurants and businesses.
At the start of this whole mess, all of my boutique fitness favorites closed (I MISS SOULCYCLE!) and my apartment gym did, too. I know a lot of people found at-home workouts they loved, but I just have a harder time motivating for that kind of thing, especially in a small, small apartment I was already spending so much time in. So my long walks became my exercise—and escape from these four walls—and I could foresee myself being a lifelong walker from this point on. I aim to get at least 10K steps on each walk, and there are very few days I don’t get there. (Though if I’m not feeling it or feel like my body needs a break, I’ll take it easy! I never want it to feel like a chore.) I’ll even walk in the rain because it reminds me of normal times when I had to commute outside regardless of the weather!
One of the reasons I am also excited to move back to Arlington is to take advantage of all their great trails—my sister and cousin have discovered so many during quarantine that I lived right next to for half a decade and didn’t even realize were there. (I’m pretty much 99% sure I am moving back to Arlington now that we’re working from home for the rest of the year—I’d love more space, the opportunity to save some money on rent, and to be closer to family!)
04. I’m not over scheduled
Before March 12, it wasn’t unusual if I had plans every single night after work and then a fully booked weekend. I also traveled frequently for work. While many of the things on my calendar were “fun” things, after you factor in work and my commute, I had very little downtime and it could be really exhausting. Now that I’m not running myself ragged, I’ve found I’m more relaxed, have more time in my day to think—both about work projects and my life, and am not always behind on “life admin” like laundry or listing things on Poshmark or chores around the apartment. Like I’ve said before, I’ve watched so much TV in quarantine and I think it’s because I have space for it in my life again.
This has been such a nice change of pace for me, and it makes me want to be really defensive of my schedule when our social lives do pick up again.
05. I’ve embraced the good old fashioned road trip
Back in March, I was secretly glad that all my trips weren’t until May and probably wouldn’t be impacted by COVID-19, hah! Clearly, I was a little naive about how things were going to play out. Even though I couldn’t travel to Men’s Final Four or Las Vegas or France or Italy, the universe has presented some amazing trips I would have never taken otherwise—and I really believe God was moving pieces around so that I’d have the opportunity to go on them and spend time with my family.
The two trips I’m talking about are the road trip I took to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina with my cousins and sisters and the road trip I took over 4th of July with my sister Jennifer to visit our sister Lindsey in Clemson, South Carolina. I had so much fun spending a week at the beach and a long weekend by a lake, and at the start of the year, neither of them were on the horizon.
While I don’t think 2020 has played out the way any of us expected or wanted, sitting down to refocus on the positive instead of the negative was really helpful for me. None of us know how long this will last, but I do know it will end one day—and when it does, I don’t want to look back and realized I wasted months or years of my life, so I am trying to embrace this time for what it is.
I hope you all are hanging in there and staying safe! x