One short (yet so, so long) year ago I wrote a blog post on thetrainridehome.com about turning 27. The United States had begun quarantine, and I was scared. Everyone was scared, to a certain degree. I was laid off from my new job that I was barely getting the hang of, and my little family consisting of my husband, my dog, and myself were in a new state away, far from family, with no income, trying to keep it together.
In this post about turning 27, I wrote about pre-quarantine lessons along with quarantine lessons. As I read back now, it feels as though that version of me is so far away. She wanted to believe so badly that it was temporary. Baking bread and doing cartwheels in the living room were mental medication for staying inside for so long. I felt confident about my words that I was sharing.
Then, I wasn’t so confident. I would sit down to write a blog post, and I had nothing. My entire brain was screaming “pandemic” and my words echoing in the void felt like a waste of time, unoriginal, and unhelpful. It was too big an obstacle to manage, and I found myself failing at the thing I usually do best: reflecting about my situation. I stepped away, and the routine of posting immediately left my mind. I was eventually hired back by my job (thankfully), started my own side business, and before I realized it, almost a year went by without posting here.
Even looking back to my post about turning 26, a mere two years ago, the reality of this past year wasn’t even a speck in the distance to that version of me, and those lessons reflect that.
Now, I’m turning 28 in two days. These are the personal lessons I’ve learned after a long, hard year for all of us.
1. Shop small and support your artist friends when you can. It feels so much better than Amazon, and you surround yourself with beautiful, handmade joys.
2. Write letters. Write so many letters to people you love and people you like and people you want to know better. Include printed pictures.
3. When you find the people who you are comfortable being yourself with, keep them close. In my case, marry them.
4. Listen to podcasts when you cook and clean. It has become a moving meditation for me that past year.
5. You are capable of so much more than you think you are, so aim high. Think of where you were a year ago, four years ago, and think of where your journey has taken you.
6. Tell the people you love that you love them. Regularly.
7. This is a broad one, but don’t take what used to be “normal” for granted. When it’s time to enjoy crowded concerts again, or a night out bar-hopping with a group of friends, or even a date night out without stressing about masks, fully appreciate it. I am so excited for this day.
8. Get a heated blanket. There is truly no greater advice than this. Go get one, now.
I’ll end this post the same way I ended 27’s. We all have more to say, but the time doesn’t feel quite right to delve into the massiveness of it all. Can’t wait to reflect with you on the other side of this. Let’s hope the other side is visible on the horizon.
While you’re staying indoors and relying on Netflix, social media, walks, and baking bread to fill your time, try out these creative writing prompts to let your imagination loose.
It’s been a long year, and we’re only 4 months in. Lucky for us, books exist! Here are the ones I love, so you might love them too.
Take some of these ideas, add your own into the mix, and pull them at random, doing one after the other. Don’t give yourselves too much time to think between each one – just DO. The whole experience made us feel like kids again, forgetting about the weight of the world. We hope you have as much fun as we did.