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Reflecting on my 35th year

The time has come, yet again, to embrace the next year of life ahead of me but also reflect on the year that I leave behind.
Turning 36 this year is so bittersweet to me. If I am being honest, it has nothing to do with the number, the age, or the aging. As I reflect on being 35 I feel like what was supposed to be such a pivotal year for me was quite the opposite. I feel as though I completely lost a year of my life. With the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, 2020 was quite the life-changing roller coaster that I did not expect as I celebrated my 35th birthday last year.
I realize that although I did live every day of the 365 days of being 35, due to the pandemic, I really didn’t live my 35th year; rather, I merely existed day in and day out. The pandemic hit me hard. I am fortunate that although neither my family nor I actually suffered from the Coronavirus, I sure did suffer from all of the effects of it in every other sense. 
From the moment my children were sent home from school on March 13th where they’d remain for going on 1-year now without in-person school, without their friends, and without most of the normalcies we are used to, my life changed completely for them. The day that I was forced into being a stay at home mom, but not just that, a stuck at home mom with 3 kids who had little to no outlets for entertainment or education. I became their everything every second of every day between 7am to 8pm. I suddenly was making 47 meals and snacks a day. I was cleaning up more messes than I could count. I was entertaining them. I was educating them. I was loving them. I was reprimanding them. I was reassuring them during anxiety attacks that our family would not die from Covid-19. I was trying to keep them happy, healthy, and thriving while I felt like I was barely surviving. My life was flipped upside down just 3 months into my 35th year and I had no idea how to handle it but to sort of shut down and push through in this existence.

As soon as the pandemic was declared and the Shelter in Place order was delivered, my day to day existence, my business, my hopes and dreams all took a 180 degree turn. My thriving business went from having every weekend booked for weddings all over California from June through September to having every one of those weddings postpone and/or cancel. This was a huge hit to me in so many ways; financially, emotionally, mentally, and professionally. I am still mourning the loss of every single client and event  who I spent my time, energy, and creativity on. I realize that this may sound dramatic but as I was embarking on my best professional year ahead of me it wasn’t even about the money I stood to make, it was about the experience. The opportunities. The growth. It was about finally feeling like after so many years, I made it. And then I had nothing I could do but sit back and watch it all crash around me, completely out of my control. 
As a Type-A person, the loss of control in this situation was very difficult for me. I am a planner. I don’t care for surprises. I don’t like the unknown. I like plans. I like knowing what is going to happen. I like being able to quickly find a solution to make something work. I like control of a situation. And here I was; sitting helplessly, which, is not a role I ever care to be in, either. 

I went from being a busy working mom, financially stable, contributing heavily to my household, social, and happy, to feeling helpless, lost, dependent, and as though I lost my identity entirely. Who was I if not a busy independent working mom? That’s who I was and who I prided myself on being.

I went from entering my 35th year with a clear, concise, and proud awareness of who I was and where I was going to spending my 35th year trying to figure out who I had become under the unfortunate and uncertain circumstances of the pandemic.

Beyond the professional portion of my life that wasn’t all that it was supposed to be, the last year also left me grieving the change and loss of friendships I once held so dear to my heart. I don’t know about you but I feel like the heartache at the hands of a once great friend can actually hurt more than the pain from someone else. Its a different kind of hurt, isn’t it? 2020 showed me just how much things could hurt and how no matter what there will be a void left that you never quite expect and from those you least expect it. Just another way that my year was not at all what it was supposed to be and I was left wondering “Who am I?”
As I reflect on the year passed and all that I had hoped and expected from it personally and professionally, I have come to the conclusion that entering my 36th year will be less about focusing on the big picture and the far future and more about today and tomorrow. In saying that, I will always have my goals, my hopes and dreams, and my big plans for my business, myself, and my family. I am trying to be more present in the sense that I need to learn to take each day one at a time and enjoy the successes, progress, and positivity of what each day might bring. With the world around us being so abnormal and full of negativity it really is quite easy to get caught up in all of it and let it bog us down – I absolutely fell victim to this. It took me to dark places on numerous occasions where I was left feeling sad, hurt, lost, and confused – altogether highly emotional – which is quite uncharacteristic for me normally.

Though the positive moments seem far and few between during this time, I am taking them with open arms and focusing my thoughts and intentions on those small wins – whatever they might be. I will focus on the smiles, the laughter, the happiness. The good times in whatever form those might come. I want to spend this year learning to embrace this life with ease and with excitement as much as possible.

I am excited to turn 36. I am excited for a fresh start. I am excited to wave goodbye to 35. I am looking forward to no longer grieving my lost year; my year of loss. I am excited for new beginnings. I am excited to close the door on many things – mostly the things that don’t bring me love and happiness. I am excited to move on and hold my head up high and move forward with positivity  and purpose.
Cheers to 2021, my 36th year, and looking up from this day forward.

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