I regard 2020 as having been a year of awakening. Now that we’re [collectively] up, it’s time to get to work. We’ve got some momentum going and can’t let it fade. At the same time, we’re still in a global parallelogram (my new favorite P-word for our current situation) and really need to look after ourselves and each other. At the end of last year, I shared four important lessons that 2020 drove home for me on Instagram and felt like expounding on them with you here. This post reflects on those 2020 lessons and digs into how I plan to build on that learning to make 2021 better, not just for me, but for my friends, family, and community, both now and in the future.

Flexibility and focus are equally important to success.

We all had to pivot at work last year. Whether you were suddenly managing multiple roles at once from home or keeping the wheels turning on the frontlines, earning a living looked and felt much different in 2020 and it likely still does in 2021. I struggled with productivity immediately after beginning to work from home but soon found my footing by reminding myself to stay focused on what I was doing AND flexible about how I was doing it. It wound up being one of my best years yet. And the same goes for my digital business, Dash of Jazz.

I’m building on what I learned in 2020 by leaning heavily into what works and allowing myself to get creative in order to fix what doesn’t. This includes letting go of doing certain things how I’ve always done them just because I’m used to doing them that way.

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Good health is a form of generational wealth.

In 2020, I was (finally) diagnosed with PCOS. Since that time, I’ve been doing a lot of research that has helped me connect dots I always accepted as “normal” throughout my life. I have a solid fitness routine, know how many hours of sleep to get each night, and what to eat for my waistline but am embarking on a different kind of health journey in 2021 to get deeply in harmony with my body and understand how to fuel it for the future.

Unrelated to the global pandemic, we lost my grandmother last year and my mom the year before–both to ongoing illness–so I know all too well how important health is. And systemic racism and sexism are real. They manifest in so many ways–from medical to social–that deeply impact our health for generations. I want to do everything I can to leave a legacy of healthy habits and knowledge to my family.

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Invest in your community. Nourish your relationships.

2020 really emphasized the importance of being in community and relationship with one another. The importance of looking out for each other and investing time, effort, knowledge, and funds to leave this place better for the next generation to come. To me, on a very micro-level, this is being a good neighbor. I live in an historically Black neighborhood home to many elderly folks and lots of history, both of which seem to be quite vulnerable in our current climate.

But we’ve recently seen, with things like record voter registration and turnout and keeping our local businesses going in this economy, how much can be done by taking personal accountability and extending that to looking out for others. So we have power. And we can affect change with it. I’m committing to checking in with my friends and family more often and in more meaningful ways. Since the world didn’t reset on January 1st I still need to harness creativity in order to connect with the most important people in my life. We’re all sick of video calls and virtual hangouts but nourishing these relationships is too important not to put forth the effort.

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Get comfortable in your own skin, in your own company, in your own space.

As much as I love my friends and family, I’m an introvert at heart and really recharge in my alone time. I don’t have any problem spending time by myself because I actually enjoy my own company. 2020 was full of way more alone time than I expected but if you can get comfortable with and fully accept yourself just as you are, you can really do anything. Within the last year especially, I’ve prioritized self care and shifted my perspective to look at the things I do for myself in the present as gifts to my future self.

I’m also working on taking greater control of my space this year. I had a security scare a couple of weeks ago that led me to make some safety upgrades around my house and within my routine. And on a lighter note, I’m redecorating my living room. Spending so much time within these four walls has helped me get more in tune with my design needs and see where I’ve made decor choices in pursuit of trends rather than my personal taste. More on that to come…sometime this year!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this pseudo journal entry and would love to know what’s resonating with you. Can you relate to any of these 2020 lessons or 2021 changes? As always, thanks for reading!

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