How I Bloomed in 2020
As the 2020 year came to an end, I mentally prepared to welcome in a new year. My thoughts were constantly consumed by all of the chaos of this past year. Immediately, I was compelled to think about all of the physical, mental, and emotional distress that the events of this year brought to nearly the entire world. Which, caused me to push aside the act of reminiscing on the year at all.
On New Year's Eve, as I found things to keep myself busy with until midnight arrived, I decided it was time to finally fill out that last page in my "Bloom" planner, titled, "How I Bloomed in 2020". Here is what I was able to learn about everything that occurred in my life this past year.
My Most Memorable Moments:
When one of my 1st grade art elementary students randomly sang a song to me about how much she loved art through our live online meet session.
Spending time with my husband on the night of our 30th birthday.
Reaching our 10th anniversary as a couple.
New Things I Tried:
Teaching art to an entire school of elementary students, grades kindergarten to 4th grade during a global pandemic.
If you did not know already, I am a NYS certified Career & Technical Education teacher in Fashion for grades 7-12. All of my previous teaching experience was at the high school grade level so, teaching young children was a huge shift for me. Not only that but, I also had to face the huge challenge of teaching both the in-person students (students who are physically in the classroom) as well as the remote students (students who are learning online from home). I started the school year in September up until mid-November as the substitute art teacher for the an entire elementary school and it was the best experience I have had thus far in my career as a teacher. I am so glad that I pushed my fears aside and took on this opportunity when it was offered to me. Going through this experience, gave me so much more than what I would've imagined. I was able to learn how to adapt, how to work with young children which will also help me with my own daughter, how to be flexible and work quickly to resolve last minute problems. Most importantly, I am grateful for this opportunity because it gave me a confidence boost in my future career as an educator especially, when it comes to working in the current climate of the world in which we live in.
Nicest Things I Did/ Things I Accomplished:
I received my official New York State Board of Education Initial teaching certification in March, just a few days after schools were shut down due to the pandemic.
Worked as the Costume Design Director for the high school play at the school where I was employed. Even though the show never went on, because it was scheduled to take place a couple of days after the pandemic shut down, I had the opportunity to work together with amazing and talented high school students.
Volunteered for my local food pantry and Feeding America organization.
Completed Summer online college courses to add a Work Based Learning Coordinator certification extension to my teaching certification.
Voted for the next president of the United States of America.
I paid off all of my credit card debt. (School loans are a big one, so those have a long way to go.)
I hosted a zoom graduation party for my baby sis and cousin as well as created a congratulatory video including all of their families and friends.
- I did my facial routine at least once every single month of the year.
- I did my hair treatment regimen at least twice a month for every month of the year.
- I worked out or did some kind of physical activity for over 166 days out of the year. *Learn more on the strategy I use to stay fit during the pandemic without having to visit a gym here.
Best Places I Visited:
Long Branch, NJ
We visited Long Branch for the very first time for our 30th birthday in August. It was a mini-getaway trip just a short drive from home and it was the best trip we had in a very long time especially during a pandemic. The only down side was that we also got hit with a storm during that same weekend so the resort where we stayed, had no power for 2 days while we were there. Regardless, we made the best out of it. You can read more about how we celebrated our birthday during the pandemic here.
Celine and I went on a road trip with my cousin and my younger sister during the month of October. We had visited Boston many times before but, never during the Fall season. It was such a fun 2-day trip where we were able to experience apple picking for the first time together. We also took a tour around the town of Salem for the second time but this time in the during the day so that we could see all of the famous sites from our favorite film, "Hocus Pocus". Hocus Pocus at the time had become one of Celine's favorite movies to watch (she would literally ask to watch it every single day, sometimes even twice a day) so, it was nice to see her amazement at everything she saw in Salem which reminded her of the movie.
*Read more about another road trip we did to Boston last year, here.
Our Backyard & Our Local Library
I could not finish filling out this section of my planner without mentioning our home backyard or our local library as the best places we visited this year!
I know probably most of you can relate to the fact that your home front lawn or backyard was where you spent most of your time with your children during this pandemic. It was literally the next lifeline for me after family and friends.
Our local library has always been one of Celine's favorite places to visit. After the pandemic shut down, the library opened up for what they call "library takeout" where we could order books from their online catalog and pick up curbside. They also offered Summer lunches for children. Going to the library during the Spring & Summer quarantine months, was something Celine always looked forward to. She was always looking forward to picking up new books, some lunch, and a fun arts & crafts project to work on.
Best Books I Read:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
IslandBorn by Junot Diaz
Reading has always been a part of my life since as far back as I can I remember. I wish I could give a longer list of books I read during this year however, making time to read is a constant struggle. I am actually proud that I was able to finish an entire 400+ page book this year. (It only took me nearly 5 months to finish and that was during quarantine!) IslandBorn is a children's book but, it was such a great book that I had to mention it as one of the best books I read this year, after all I did read it.
Achievements/Milestones for Celine:
End to night-time/nap-time diapers and no more 🚽potty accidents in the middle of the night.
Started 🩰 ballet & tap Dance.
Moved up to preschool from her toddler class.
Learned to ride her 🚴 .
Became a "three-nager"
This year has been a great year for my blog and my instagram platform in so many ways. I won't go into it all in depth but, just to list a few:
I was able to grow my instagram community of followers by a huge amount.
I was much more consistent with my blog posts as well as instagram.
I did many more paid ad campaigns as well as brand collaborations (product for posts).
Made it to year #3!
Most Important Things I Learned:
Turning 30 this year and entering a new decade in my life, opened me up to a whole new perspective on my own life and where I stand in this moment. This year, I have learned that the purpose of my life may not be something "out of this world" as I had always pictured it to be. I have learned that the purpose of my life no matter how minimal it may seem to me, can be greatly impactful. With experience, I've realized that it doesn't take being the head of a big corporation nor a millionaire to be influential. I can't say that I without a doubt know the meaning behind my life and the path I am currently on. Nor have I figured it all out as of yet. However, I have come to value all that I have accomplished and the many ways I have influenced the life of others in the 30 years I have on this Earth. Whether that be by being someone's best friend, a student's favorite teacher, a great wife, a sister, a daughter, or a random civilian in my society and community, I know I've made a difference in somewhere and somehow.
Another important thing that I learned this year is how much more at peace and joyful I can be during the day if I take some time out of each day and dedicate it to God. Reading the Bible and praying to God every morning has truly been detrimental on my state of mind during this difficult and tragic year. Although I am fully aware that I still have a long way to go in my journey allowing God into my life, I have never felt more in touch with Him than I do in this moment.
I have so many reasons to be full of sadness and pain about 2020. Yet, I have so so so many more reasons to be grateful and full of hope for this new year. It took me going through the many pages of my planner, looking at each crossed out event in my calendar, and jotting it all down on one page, for me to realize just how much I had grown this year. I was in complete awe when I couldn't fit all my answers to the above points on the planner page.
In no way is this a sponsored post, however, I feel the need to thank Bloom Planners. Their planners are set up in such a way that I was able to go back and notice what goals I accomplished that I had set for myself at the beginning of the year as well as all the events that took place during the year.
Today, I encourage you to first, get a planner for the year if you do not already have one. Second, write down every event that occurs this 2021 year for you (every time you workout, every book you finish reading, every place you visit, every important milestone/achievement). This way no matter how awful you think the year might have been for you, you can always go back and look at all you have accomplished and I'm sure you too will have a change in perspective of how the year went for you...
...Sew This Life!
"When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends." Barbara Bush