As 2020 comes to a close, Mike and I set aside time to reflect on this past year. We take the last two weeks of the year to look at what went well during the past year and what needs to change. The first discussion revolved around how we measure success. Is success based on the profitability of an endeavor? How much joy is experienced? Meeting our goals that we set last year before we knew a pandemic would shake-up forward momentum? What does success look like?
Instead of defining success, we decided to pivot and focus on a Past Year Review as described by Tim Ferriss. This tool was an objective framework to use while reflecting on 2020. Mike and I listed out positive and negative activities and commitments. We used our calendar to help us remember how we spent our time.
It was fun to reminisce about our couples getaways, camping trips, road trips, summer days spent gardening and swimming, and how we made the best out of COVID lockdowns. This exercise gave us an honest overview of how we spent our time in 2020. We had moments of excellence + adventure, and we had areas that need growth.
This week I am going to focus on what we did well as a family; how we were able to build grit + resilience, focus on meaningful family time, and become comfortable with our authentic selves. None of these lessons came easy, and anything worth doing takes consistency, effort, and improvements along the way.
Reflecting on 2020
Building Grit & Resilience
In the past, I was concerned that our girls did not have adversity in their young lives. One challenge of homeschooling that I kept at the forefront is that they do not have much experience dealing with people who do not have the same foundational values. As my oldest is firmly in her teenage years, I want her to start solidifying her own values which happens when they are questioned. I do not want her to accept my belief system blindly, but I want it to be tested.
2020 has proven to give Adelynn and my other girls plenty of opportunities to decide what they believe in many life aspects. With issues of politics, race, social justice, vaccines, immigration, freedoms, and such being discussed within Adelynn’s circle of friends, it has opened up many conversations.
As we turn over the calendar, my hope is that our girls continue to challenge and discuss important issues. Adversity builds grit and resilience which are important characteristics in navigating the world today.
Purposeful Family Time
All of our vacations were canceled or revamped this year. Heidi turned 11, which should have meant a cruise up the Northeast coastline and a New York City trip with her grandparents. Neither of these happened. It was disappointing since she had been looking forward to experiencing Broadway and relishing in all that NYC has to offer.
Instead of exploring cities, we spent a lot of time in the great outdoors. We explored Glacier National Park, Everglades National Park, three of the Great Lakes, and lots of state parks. Our family thrived when we were camping and enjoying nature. When we left our home and got out into nature the problems of the world all seemed very small compared to God, the Creator of all this beauty. These times were refreshing, energizing, and purposeful.
Mike and I decided that in 2021 we want to be a family that gets outside even more. We are in the process of upgrading our camper and planning our next camping adventures. I am excited to blog at Sit Around the Campfire about all things camping during 2021.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided to jump into the world of blogging. I took a digital marketing course and wanted to get hands-on experience with blogging and developing a presence on social media. This goal stretched my comfort zone and required me to be more vulnerable than my introverted self liked.
I am very goal-oriented so I started by cultivating these new habits:
- Blogging once a week
- Posting on Instagram daily
- Reading a business book each month
Putting myself out there in the online world this way, invited critique into my life and parenting. Each blog post or picture is a little glimpse into our lives but does not give a complete view. I would question whether I was being too open about my girls, if I wasn’t saying enough about the difficulties in life, if I should speak to the harder issues of today, take a stance, or remain silent.
At times, I would be overwhelmed with all the online world’s noise and discouraged with how negativity seems to get the larger audience. I have a new appreciation for those who are steadfast in truth, kindness, and finding joy even in the midst of struggle. After a year of engaging with the online world, I feel comfortable in my own skin online. I know what I stand for and will continue to simply cultivate joy in my corner of the world.
What a year it has been! Going through the exercise of reflecting on 2020 has helped me focus on the positive learning experiences. My personality is quick to see the negatives and focus on what we could have done better. It is important to look back and see the positives of the year before, the opportunities that grew and stretched me personally and grew our family bonds.
As a family, we took 2020 with stride, used the adversity to build grit and resilience, and made many new family memories.
Reflecting on 2020, what activities and commitments had a positive impact on your life?
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