A NOTE TO 2020
How many times did we hear, "during these unprecedented times" or "given our current circumstances"? We ended our phone calls, text messages and emails with, "stay safe" instead of our usual "talk soon".
2020 was truly an unexpected year. We weren't prepared for it, but we adapted. It was a struggle, because change is difficult. It was an emotional rollercoaster, yet taught us a lot. Maybe 2020 happened as it did, because it was a much needed reset button.
Paris, January 2020
I'm sure our year started like everyone else's - on a high note - ringing in 2020 with such anticipation and vivacity. For Gavin and I, we spent the first 3 days of the new year in Paris! We were soaking in as much Parisian culture we could before returning home. We were also in the process of nesting in our home together. From the day of our wedding until our return from our honeymoon, we hardly had a chance to really settle into our place. Our calendars were packed with everything!
Fast foward to February and mid-March, our year continued in a fast-paced speed. Visits from cousins, car-shows, making future travel plans, continuing to furnish our home, figuring out married life and even landed a new role in my professional career!
Then as March concluded, the entire world changed.
Initially, it was fear mixed with confusion. Questions were just spilling out of heads and into numerous, endless Google searches.
"Why is this happening?"
"Where did it come from?"
"Is it everywhere?"
"What is coronavirus?"
"Is this the end of the world?"
We were asked to adapt to new circumstances and adapt quickly. If you're like me, I embrace change. However, if I don't like the change, I would just revert back. 2020 was not a change I could just disregard and wipe away. It forced us down a completely different path, which opened our eyes and hearts to the change we were all desperate to accept - we just didn't know it yet.
By April and May, we all delved into hobbies and pastimes that had fallen off our calendars, since we never had time to schedule them in.
There was a flour and yeast shortage because we all turned into chefs and bakers! Others took up puzzles, online courses, knitting and so on. The list is endless. We didn't realize it yet, but we were given the gift of time.
Garlic + rosemary focaccia
We stopped and slowed down. It was what we all needed.
As newlyweds, this time allowed us to really cultivate our marriage. Since we were confined to our household, Gavin and I were able to spend quality time together. If it weren't for quarantine, we would be busy with our workloads, social calendar and other commitments. Living on our own and away from our families also gave us the chance to nurture our relationship with our parents and siblings. We were checking in more often and making time to see them, even if it were just porch visits. It actually also gave us insights on true and strong friendships. In all honesty, I kept in touch with more family and friends who weren't in the same time zone as me! This spoke volumes.
2020 was about finding joy in the simpler things. Laughter with close friends and connecting with family, near and far. 2020 taught us to open our hearts and to be present in every moment because they are too precious to waste. It was about being grateful for what you have and knowing that is and always was enough.
Time is valuable and sacred. We realized that we are committed to not wasting it on relationships and experiences that don't uplift our spirits or cultivate joy. We have to honour time and use it well with intentions.
Time is fleeting. Time is not promised. We get one life. We deserve the same time, effort and energy that we pour into others.
Blue Mountain Village
Collingwood, July 2020
My parents' 34th wedding anniversary
Kimberly + Shawn's wedding
Vaughan, August 2020
At the start of lockdown, we all felt the need to be productive. It was a race to see who can achieve the highest levels of productivity. Truthfully, I fell into that race myself, only to realize that it was perfectly fine not to have done everything on your massive to-do list. It also wasn't a race. We compared ourselves to our neighbours so much, no thanks to our overuse of social media. 2020 gave us the opportunity to carry the incentive to slow down, even with knowledge that your life doesn't fully stop. It wasn't about how much we did or didn't do. It wasn't about how many trips we took or how many bucket lists items were checked off.
2020 was a struggle, but it was also a great teacher. It may not be possible to put into words all the feelings that arose. Is that even possible? Two words come to me if I could encapsulate this year:
A feast is a feast, no matter the headcount.
I am grateful for how I've grown. This year taught us the meaning of patience, pause, loss and privilege. The lessons we take away from this year have made us gentler with ourselves, kinder to others and made us more awake and aware of the world around us. During times of uncertainty, when nothing seems to make sense, we are actually learning invaluable lessons - even if we don't realize them just yet. Slowly, we will begin to find that this year did not define us, it was a part of our story, but not the final chapter.
Christmas at home